There’s no question that an athlete’s mental health is just as important as their physical health and performance, and to make that clear, Nike has launched a new podcast to support the minds of its athletes both on and off the field, as well as everyday athletes.
This week, Nike announced No Off-Season, which brings light to difficult conversations surrounding mental health topics. Told from the perspective of the brand’s top athletes, each episode will be guided by mental health experts and Crisis Text Line’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shairi Turner and Global Expansion Director, Natalia Dayan, LMSW.
According to the program’s press release, “The goal of the podcast is to show those facing mental health challenges that they are not alone and that there is strength in asking for help.”
“Most of the athletes featured have confronted mental health issues, ones that have posed challenges to their relationships, their identities, and their careers,” the statement continued. “These empathetic conversations will serve both the communities that need them most and the podcast-listeners everywhere.”
No-Off Season will discuss topics surrounding grief, depression, and trauma through insights from NBA All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns, Olympic shotputter Raven Saunders, Gymnast Laurie Hernandez, and more.
As part of Nike’s larger goal to provide mental health support in the sports world, No Off-Season is a platform aiming to destigmatize conversations around mental wellness. “Mental health is a critical part of our overall personal wellness and fitness,” said Vanessa Garcia-Brito, vice president of communications at Nike. “It is just as important as physical health to realize our full potential – in sport and in life. At Nike, we know that in order for athletes to be successful it is important to cultivate a healthy mind and body for everyday life.”
“No Off-Season provides a forum to bring more voices into the conversation around mental health and help de-stigmatize asking for support,” Garcia-Brito added. “No one should feel alone.”
According to reports from Nike, “Nearly 1 in 2 (47%) athletes only seek out mental health resources when they experience something traumatic.” The athletic brand also says “95% of athletes reported that taking time to pause and reflect each day would make a difference.”
In the season’s opening episode, “Finding Purpose In Pain,” Towns, a 26-year-old star of the Minnesota Timberwolves, opened up about losing his mother to COVID-19, his goals to uplift his community with mental health resources, and how he manages his self-worth, among other topics.
Episodes of No Off-Season are now available to stream through Nike’s Trained podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
Resources for mental health support are available 24/7, if you or someone you know needs mental health help, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.