Every one of four people in America has a mental health condition. That is well over 40 million human beings. We must inform and educate ourselves to make it feel safe to discuss this topic. Avoiding the conversation only keeps us away from solutions.

Mental health and sports are two things that have never really been discussed. At least not together. In recent years, the NFL has taken heat for CTE and concussion research, or the lack thereof. However, we have another matter on our hands that needs to be brought to the center of discussion. Mental health.

Mental health is something that many people are affected by. Every one of four, actually. With such a wide variety of human lives being affected, why do we not discuss this? Part of it may be that we are afraid of being discriminated against or looked at differently. Another part of it could be that we are so open to share and discuss things we are comfortable with. Examples being weather, sports, our jobs, you know, everyday life. For whatever reason, many of us struggle to share personal stuff with others.

We have seen professional athletes come out and expose the world to mental health. NBA players Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan came out last winter, discussing their struggles. Love with anxiety and panic attacks, while DeRozan opened up about depression.

We often struggle to open up about mental health perhaps because we all find our “safe space.” For example, for athletes, it may be a ball field, a basketball court, a weight room, etc. I think we often overlook how many people truly struggle with something.

Everybody is going through something. Heck, look at actor Robin Williams. Who would have thought he would be suffering from depression? Just because these people are famous, doesn’t mean they are immune to everyday struggles.

Love was quoted as saying, “mental health isn’t just an athlete thing. What you do for a living doesn’t have to define who you are. This is an everyone thing.” It truly makes you think of the person you may walk past every day at work that may be struggling with something internally. Generally, the people we should worry about the most are the ones who tell you everything in life is great and could not be better. Just perfect. Deep inside, we all wish that were true. Everyone is going through something we cannot see.

The stigma that is carried around for those who wish to open up about mental health? Insecurity and ignorance. We as people fear what we do not understand. Us human beings need to educate ourselves about mental health. It needs to become a forefront of discussion. With every one of four people being affected, it is time expose this “secret” to the world and inform ourselves. I hope to elaborate more next month when it is Mental Health Awareness week beginning Oct. 7-Oct. 13.

In some side news, congratulations to recent Sleepy Eye Public graduate Lauren Klein. Lauren tried out for the softball team at SMSU in Marshall and made the team as a walk-on. Klein also will become the 11th student-athlete from the Class of 2018 to be playing sports collegiately.

I fully expect the Vikings to come out and defeat the Packers Sunday. We must be careful though as the NFL might not let us breathe on Aaron Rodgers after last year’s “controversial” hit on the star quarterback. Apparently, Mr. Rodgers forgot what football was all about.

I also want to personally thank all of the coaches so far for getting me the information and stats that I need. Each coach has been very cooperative and been easy to work with to this point. Makes both of our jobs easier!