Lee Haney Encourages Bodybuilders to be Open About Mental Health

Lee Haney talks mental health in bodybuilding.

Eight-time Olympia champion Lee Haney recently spoke about mental health in bodybuilding. The legend touched on the subject and implored bodybuilders to open up about their mental health and seek help.

Mental health is a topic that has been getting more and more important these days. Never had mental health been more of a concern than it is in our current climate. The last couple years have been taxing for just about everyone. The future has never been more uncertain than it is today and things appear to be on a shaky footing.

Mental health in professional sports has also become a major issue. So many professional athletes run themselves ragged through countless hours of training. They push themselves to the physical and mental limit in order to achieve their goals. While physical recovery has always been emphasized, many don’t treat the mind with the same kind of care. While things like icing, massages, and other physical recovery treatments are employed, there are many athletes who refuse to seek out therapy for their mental health.

In bodybuilding we’ve seen cases of individuals taking their own lives due to depression. These lives could have been saved if mental health therapy was more accepted as a viable option. That appears to be exactly what bodybuilding legend Lee Haney is trying to accomplish.

Eight-time Olympia champion Lee Haney gave a recent interview touching on the subject of mental health. The legend even implored athletes in the bodybuilding community to get help for their mental health issues.

“There’s a lot of issues we face, and we face them on our own, and nobody knows what’s happening,” said Lee Haney. “In the world of bodybuilding, there’s always this picture painted that we’re some super people. We can get over anything. We’re strong, we’re physical beautiful on the outside. We can conquer all. What happens in the mind, and what happens in the heart and the spirit person, can be totally different than what is seen on the outside.

“So I wanted to speak to that particular thing, because that’s something that’s never discussed, something that I feel our industry is missing. So I heard a couple of different times, at this past Olympia, a couple of different athletes that said they had these moments in which they broke down in tears while prepping for the show.

“This is not something that’s happening to these particular people, it’s happening a lot. Many times it’s not being discussed or brought out in the open, but I just want to share my perspective on the importance of mental health, and what I’ve done in my own life, to keep it together. When you’re talking about winning the Mr. Olympia, let alone 8 Mr. Olympias, how do keep it together (in your mind)? When you’re on the top, there’s nowhere to go but down. If you’re not able to control the mental stress of being an athlete, and trying to overcome adversities, trying to get better, trying to pursue something that only one in a million or several billion can achieve, that’s pressure in itself.”

Even before the pandemic mental health has been quite the issue. Many people have looked at things like therapy through a negative lens. But therapy can be a godsend and tool that can save many, many lives. It’s great to see Lee Haney advocating for such an important cause.

What are your thoughts on therapy and mental health?

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News and Editorial Writer at Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Sound Cloud for in-depth MMA analysis.

Jonathan Salmon
Managing editor of Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. He has been writing about bodybuilding, combat sports, and strength sports for over 8 years. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Sound Cloud for in-depth MMA analysis.