Jets’ DL Solomon Thomas finds a place for mental health support in the wrestler space

Last Monday, October 10, was World Mental Health Day in 150 countries around the world. The annual event, first celebrated in 1992, is a program to focus attention on mental illness and its effects on people around the world. The theme of this year’s program was to make mental health and well-being for all – a global priority.

For defense line worker Gates Solomon Thomas, mental health is a personal priority. His dear sister Ella, a young woman who struggled with anxiety and depression, committed suicide in 2018 at the age of 24.

“It shocked my family’s world,” Thomas, 27, told team reporter Eric Allen and former midfielder Bart Scott in this week’s edition of “The Official Jets Podcast.” “I didn’t know much about mental health, that taboo thing. People were saying to me ‘sorry for your loss’, but they didn’t understand. She might feel like the stigma around her was this burden, this thing that you can’t really touch. It affected my process.” Sadness, we were close, and I just lost her.

“It was the fault of losing this person. I was the third choice [by San Francisco] In the 2017 draft and felt the pressure of not performing. I felt like I couldn’t talk about my sister and my suffering. I thought people would say I was weak, so I didn’t talk about my feelings or how hard my life was or how dark it was. I got to a dark place, I didn’t want to be here, and I was really suffering. It was hard to get up, hard to go to work, and hard to see the light of day. My ex-manager contacted me [49ers GM] John Lynch who gave me permission to get help. I learned how to deal with my feelings and respect my anger, sadness and depression. I learned different coping mechanisms and was thrown into the world of mental health, and I got better. Now I can go and talk about my journey.”

Thomas, with his mother, father, and cousin, realized that others had been forced to deal with their own grief and realization of missing signals. together make up defensive lineThomas said, an organization with “a mission to end the youth suicide epidemic, especially for people of color by connecting and changing the way we communicate with mental health” by going to schools. [he gave a talk at Clifton High School on Tuesday night]Companies, sports programs, and mentors teach how to have a better mental health environment. How to have language to talk about, address warning signs and what to do in crisis situations.”

Thomas, who was signed by the Jets on free agency, played for 49 players from 2017-2020, spent a season with the Raiders, then joined the Jets. He was quick to point out that in the NFL wrestler’s culture, the idea of ​​tackling even a hint of mental conflict has been resented for years, seen as unmanly and a sign of weakness. Things change, but it’s hard to change perceptions.

“There’s a changing narrative in the locker room,” Thomas said. “It’s huge, we spend more time being Clark Kent than Superman. It’s important to acknowledge that we’re human. We can’t always have that character that we’re wrestlers with, and we can beat everything and rub the dirt in.”

“Hey, we are human beings and we go through emotions and feelings and it’s okay to be sad and depressed and anxious and you have to find ways to get over that and combat it. And to realize as men that it’s okay to talk, to have a safe place and say I’m not doing well, can we talk or who He can help. We haven’t learned to deal with life’s ups and downs, diversity of feelings or give language to describe them. There is a lot of pressure Be tough just to get past it. In fact, we will all go through volatile feelings that we pretend are bad, like feeling sad, depressed, embarrassed and angry, we teach others how to deal With her. In the NFL locker room, she got better. She got better. Me and other guys talking, telling stories—me, A.J. Brown, Darius Leonard, Max Crosby—a lot of the speakers have opened up space for men to be human. That’s The life of the NFL is full of pressures and expectations. I think we’ve opened up this space for players, and I hope it saves lives and teaches the guys in the wrestler space that it can be sensitive, too, we can meditate, we can go to therapy, we can journal. I think this space is really changing a “.

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