Over the past few years, the world has become more and more comfortable discussing mental health issues. Even men, a demographic that has stereotypically been more stoic and less willing to admit weakness, have begun to embrace the importance of mental health, and have become more willing to discuss it.
Prince Harry has openly discussed his struggles and launched an initiative to help open the conversation among men and remove the stigma that’s often associated with the admission of mental health problems, and Hollywood stars and famous athletes have also stepped forward.
The latest is Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who just this week announced that he is taking a leave of absence from the team to focus on his mental wellbeing.
The received posted a statement to Twitter, explaining his decision and thanking the Falcons for their support.
— CALVIN RIDLEY (@CalvinRidley1) October 31, 2021
“These past few weeks have been very challenging and as much as I’d like to be on the field competing with my teammates, I need to step away from football at this time and focus on my mental wellbeing,” Ridley said.
Twice already this season, the Falcons number one wide receiver has been declared inactive for games due to personal matters, the details of which the public has not been made privy to. Clearly, something is going on with Ridley that is having an impact on his ability to perform in a high-pressure role as a star player in the National Football League.
Only other high-level athletes can understand the stress of such a lifestyle, and Ridley is not alone. Over the summer, the world watched as legendary gymnast Simone Biles stepped back from several events at the Olympics for the benefit of her own mental health, and earlier this fall beleaguered NBA star Ben Simmons did the same.
The receiver has the support of fans, 91,000 of whom have liked his tweet, and, crucially, his teammates, including star quarterback Matt Ryan.
“Certainly wish Calvin all the best,” Ryan said. “We love him and support him. He’s a great friend and a great person. We all support him as he’s going through this.”
Ridley’s tweet seems to suggest he will be back, and hopefully better than ever.
“This will help me be the best version of myself now and in the future. I want to thank my teammates, the entire Atlanta Falcons organization, our great fans, my friends, and my family for all of their support during this time.”