MLB fans shine spotlight on mental health, but not in a good way

Monica FarrarMonica Farrar

People dealing with mental health issues can face prejudice and discrimination nearly everywhere they go, and the sports arena is no exception, even at the highest of professional levels.  

Recently, during a Major League Baseball playoff game, Houston Astros pitcher Zack Greinke, who battles both social anxiety disorder and depression, was taunted and insulted by the opposition’s fans during pregame warmups. One fan was reportedly ejected.

Greinke is one of many professional athletes openly dealing with mental illness issues. Olympic medalist Michael Phelps and NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw are other examples of athletes who have gone public with their daily struggles.

“This recent incident during a baseball playoff game reinforces how society needs ongoing education around the topic of mental health, to help break the stigma that’s associated with it,” said Monica A. Farrar, LMHC, of Williamsville. “Why is it we try to separate our physical health from our mental health when they run so closely together? Poor physical health can lead to an increased risk of developing mental health problems. Similarly, poor mental health can negatively impact on physical health, leading to an increased risk of some conditions.

“The World Health Organization states that ‘there is no health without mental health.’ Mental health conditions are real and prevalent in our nation and with effective treatment, individuals dealing with mental health and other chronic health conditions can recover and lead full, productive lives.

“Zack Greinke understands the importance of being mentally and physically healthy,” Farrar added, “but a recent sporting event proves how far we still need to go as a society.”

For more information or support dealing with mental health issues, please contact Monica at 250-9831 or visit

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