We are amidst a global mental health crisis. It is predicted that by 2020, someone will commit suicide every 20 seconds. The statistics regarding mental health are concerning, confusing and cause for panic, so it is only natural that we are clamoring to find ways to make things better. For some of us, myself included, grappling has been a force for good, but it’s important to remember that the mats shouldn’t be a substitute for seeking help.
Does rolling help? Absolutely, but it isn’t for everyone. One day you, your students, or your training partners might need more than just some exercise to feel better and as a community we need to be mindful of this. I have witnessed well-meaning people telling training partners just to “push through it” and train because “you regret the sessions you miss” and while this might be true, sometimes it is better to sort your life out off the mats before you get back on it.
Jiu Jitsu can provide a lot of positives for people struggling with mental health issues, it can provide them with camaraderie, a physical outlet for stress and just somewhere they can be themselves. The problem is that everyone’s struggle is different and some people will require professional help.
Grappling can be part of the solution for people trying to get better, but it should compliment medical health and not be used instead of it. Jiu jitsu can save lives, but a combined approach to mental health can save more. If someone you train with is struggling with mental health issues sign post them to help. Take the stigma out of depression and talk to people if you notice they aren’t being their usual selves.
Let’s come together and submit the stigma of depression and help each other heal.
Looking for help with a BJJ injury? Book an online video consultation with BJJ black belt and osteopath Rosi Sexton.