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talking about mental health as a black athlete

Updated: Feb 21, 2021

For athletes, there is the stereotype where talking about your emotions or anything related to mental health can be a sign of weakness. Being labeled “weak” is the last word any athlete wants to hear. As a black female student athlete, our voices are always underrepresented.

Being a minority in a profession that is male dominate, it is sometimes a challenge for me to use my voice in social situations regarding mental health and racism in this country. Between the microaggressions we face as a black community and the high expectations of being mentally strong in our sport, it is no surprise that at least 40% of black female student athletes are dealing with depression and anxiety.

Before going to UCLA, I’ve often experienced being only one of the few black girls, whether it was in my sport or in school. Over the past five years, I have been fortunate to have had four beautiful black women as my teammates, which is something you may not see again. Even then, the intersectionality as black women in sports results in us being silenced far too often. However, we are resilient and we refuse to accept no as an answer. As we are going through a tough time in our country, I chose to be resilient by having tough conversations with family, friends and teammates and the UCLA athletics community. As student athletes, we have a platform to speak up when we see wrong between social inequality and mental health. And I choose to use my voice and take action within the black community and UCLA community.

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