Steve Young wants you—everyone—to make an appointment to meet with a counselor or therapist.
In a new video produced by BYU Athletics, three-time Super Bowl champion and two-time NFL MVP Steve Young shares his personal experiences with anxiety and mental health challenges as a young man and as an athlete.
“Physical ailments are obvious … Emotional, mental issues are not,” he says.
A Discussion on Mental Health:
Episode 1 – Steve Young
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In the video, Young says that as a collegiate athlete at BYU, he would throw up before every game. And his friends on the team would say, “Well, that‘s Steve. That’s why we know he‘s going to play well because if he throws up, we’re in good shape.”
At 33 years old, Young was told he had severe undiagnosed childhood separation anxiety disorder, which manifest itself as anticipatory anxiety as an adult. In recent years, Young has written and spoken extensively about his experience with anxiety and how it ultimately made him who he is today.
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He also notes that the culture of athletics breeds attributes like toughness, resilience, and grit, and those things can be positive, but that we also should allow space for vulnerability, too.
“I will not be part of a culture that’s going to shame anyone who thinks about how to get better,” Young says, referring to those who look down on people who seek mental health counseling. “Please be careful of how to speak about it and allow yourself some space to see if there’s some healing to be done.”
His call to action at the end of the video is direct: “Please do not feel stigmatized by going to ... counseling. I encourage you—every one of you, every one of you—to go make an appointment.”
If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health challenges, you can call 1-800-622-4357 to reach the National Mental Health Helpline for free, confidential referrals, information, and resources (services available in English and Spanish and only available in the US).