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World Mental Health Day with UNINTERRUPTED®    

World Mental Health Day with UNINTERRUPTED®

World Mental Health Day is celebrated each year on October 10, but no year in recent memory can match 2020 when it comes to the mental health challenges that individuals across the country and around the globe have had to face. From the Covid-19 pandemic to unsettling race relations to natural disasters brought on by climate change, this year has put everyone’s mental health to the test. 

It has also highlighted how important it is to make mental health a priority and to have open and honest conversations about it. That is why this World Mental Health Day, Madhappy® linked up with UNINTERRUPTED®, the amazing athlete platform developed by LeBron James and Maverick Carter, to launch More Than My Feelings. This campaign is centered around the idea that your identity is not defined by your feelings. Feeling sad right now does not define you as a sad person. Your mental health is much more beautifully complex than a fleeting moment, and it’s important to give yourself space to honor that complexity.

As part of the More Than My Feelings initiative, Madhappy® / UNINTERRUPTED® created a custom Instagram filter, where we invited people to reflect and share their experiences and to answer the question, “What does mental health mean to you?” 

Additionally, renowned sports psychologist Dr. Michael Gervais connected with legendary NFL running back Marshawn Lynch for an intimate and revealing conversation about mental health. As you can see in these excerpts, even a guy whose nickname is “Beast Mode” has had his own struggles on his journey toward improving his mental health.

Art by FISK

Dr. Michael Gervais: I've been in pro sports a long time, I've never met anybody like you. There's not many people in the thin herd of elite performance that stray away from the herd That's you. 

Marshawn Lynch: It's hard enough being myself. So trying to pretend to be somebody else, that's got to be 10 times harder. 

Dr. Gervais: Where did you learn that? That's not easy.

Lynch: Just like with anything that you do, it’s repetition. Growing up in Oakland, you were going to get called out no matter what you did. So you either took ownership in who you were, or got called out for being something that you’re not. That just helped me be more comfortable in my skin. 

Dr. Gervais: People are trying to fit in and figure out where they belong. 

Lynch: It's a fine line of being yourself and being somebody who wants to be accepted. It's all a process of trying to understand who you are. It can get real time consuming and emotionally draining going out and looking for where you fit in, rather than just [finding] a natural connection and it falling into place. 

Dr. Gervais: What do you want kids to know?

Lynch: They have the opportunity to go on a social media platform and be influenced by so many different things. At a young age, it can be kind of confusing. What I tell the kids I come in contact with is that all of that is cool—going on social media, liking this and that, being inspired by this and that—but just make sure that your Number 1 inspiration is being able to wake up and look at that motherfucker in the mirror and say, “I love that motherfucker on the other side of the mirror.”

Dr. Gervais: How did you sort out who you are?

Lynch: I stripped myself butt naked of all my clothes, my watch, my earrings. I looked at myself in the mirror and I was like, “I don't get another body. I don't get another face. I don't get different hands. My feet are my feet.” And I came to an agreement with myself that I love this. I have been called ugly, black, fat, just about everything. At the end of the day, I'm like fuck it, that's me. I feel hella good in this thing. I go with that self love. That don't cost nothing. Just sitting down and having a conversation with myself. Most of the time people say he is talking to himself, that's a crazy person. Nah, that's a sane person. 

Dr. Gervais: In a normal year about 30% of people suffer from anxiety, depression, or mental illness. Right now with Covid, that number might be tripled. Knowing that people are really struggling, what is something that you would hope they do?

Lynch: That's a hard situation. Everybody feels it. I know a lot of people are lacking the safety nets. They're lacking the communication to talk about it because they're scared. 

Dr. Gervais: You're saving lives by saying go talk to some people.

Lynch: It's the hardest thing to go and say to somebody, “Help,” or, “I don’t understand.” I know it because I was one of those kids, too proud to ask for help. But then I was like fuck it, I keep failing. You know what? Help. I asked for help one time, and it was the best thing for me. I’ve asked for help for the rest of my life.