Motorsports racing is a fast-paced, nail-biting environment. It can elevate your blood pressure and leave you on the edge of your seat – now imagine being in one of the cars. The past year has been an interesting one for Lewis Hamilton, especially when you consider the controversial ending of the Formula One season in Abu Dhabi last year.
Being one of the biggest names to come out of F1 racing can take a toll on anybody. As such, the Mercedes driver recently opened up about his own mental health struggles.
Lewis Hamilton’s Mental Health Struggles
In a recent Instagram story post, the 37-year-old spoke about how he too deals with his own mental health woes;
“…I have struggled mentally and emotionally for a long time, to keep going is a constant effort but we have to keep fighting, we have so much to do and to achieve….”
“…I’m writing to tell you it’s OK to feel the way you do, just know that you are not alone and we are gonna get through this.” – Lewis Hamilton
This is not the first time the race car driver has spoken about his mental health. In 2020, during the height of the COVID pandemic, he opened up about the state of his mental health.
Taking to social media, the six-time world champion shared that he too was struggling with being apart from those he loved, adding that he’s grateful for the ones closest to him helping him to keep a balance, even if it’s just through text, phone or FaceTime.
The Brit then concluded the post by reminding us that asking for help is never a bad thing. He shared that showing vulnerability doesn’t make you weak. Instead, he says that he likes to think of it as “a chance to become stronger.“
Men’s mental health
Lewis Hamilton’s decision to be open and honest about his mental health is incredibly admirable, especially because so many men choose not to. This is in spite of the fact that suicide rates for men are just over twice as high as for women worldwide.
Why don’t men want to talk about it?
Despite the fact that plenty of well known names have publicly spoken about their mental health struggles, there is still a stigma attached to it, especially when you’re a man,
“I think part of it may be this macho thing,” Dr. Raymond Hobbs, a physician consultant at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, told Healthline. “A lot of guys don’t want to admit they have this problem. They still see depression as a sign of weakness.”
Coupled with the burden of toxic masculinity, which essentially teaches men toxic masculine traits like being strong and quiet from the minute that they’re born, it’s no wonder that so many of them struggle to express their feelings and emotions. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of men’s health suggested that men who conform to masculine norms including Self-Reliance, Playboy (e.g., desire for multiple sexual partners), and Violence (e.g., engaging in violent behavior) might demonstrate their masculinity in a way that is deleterious to their overall well-being.
Breaking the stigma
It’s easy to fall into the idea of what society perceives a “real man” should be, but you need to remember that pretending that there’s no problem will just worsen the issue.
It’s important that we all do our part to create safe spaces for those around us, including men, and to remind them that struggling with your mental health is not a sign of weakness and that there are resources available that can help them manage it.
Want to know more?
Kadeem One believes that black men need better support tools to achieve healthier life outcomes. Using his own personal experience, he’s successfully teaching men (and others) coping skills to achieve positive wellness outcomes.
MAIN IMAGE CREDIT: LewisHamilton/Instagram
Iwamoto, D. K., Brady, J., Kaya, A., & Park, A. (2018). Masculinity and Depression: A Longitudinal Investigation of Multidimensional Masculine Norms Among College Men. American journal of men’s health, 12(6), 1873–1881. https://doi.org/10.1177/1557988318785549