Thursday, June 20, 2024

Untold Tales: Marcus Smith II’s Psychological Well being Playbook and Advocacy Journal


Writer

Erick McNair

Introduction

Marcus Smith II’s story is certainly one of resilience, transformation, and advocacy. From his early days as a highschool soccer star in Georgia to his skilled profession within the NFL, Marcus achieved outstanding success on the sphere. Nevertheless, behind the accolades and victories, he confronted profound psychological well being challenges that threatened his life. Right now, Marcus is leveraging his platform to champion psychological well being consciousness and help, significantly amongst athletes. In honor of Psychological Well being Consciousness Month, this text delves into Marcus’s journey and his work as a International Model Ambassador with mind-body well being firm, All Factors North (APN).

Early Life and Soccer Profession

Marcus’s Story: The Street to the NFL

Marcus’s journey started in Georgia, the place he excelled in highschool soccer. He performed quarterback at Hardaway Excessive Faculty, passing for greater than 1,800 yards and 14 touchdowns, whereas additionally speeding for 227 yards and 4 touchdowns. As a senior, he was chosen to the 2009 AAAA All-Area Second-team. Regardless of his success as a quarterback, Marcus transitioned to a defensive place in school on the College of Louisville—a change that required immense psychological energy and flexibility. Regardless of the challenges, he thrived in his new position, incomes accolades such because the ACC Defensive Participant of the Yr in 2013 and a third-team All-American choose. Regardless of his success, Marcus struggled with anxiousness and despair, which adopted him all through his profession.

Skilled Soccer Profession 

Marcus entered the 2014 NFL Draft with excessive expectations following a stellar school profession. He was chosen within the first spherical, twenty sixth total, by the Philadelphia Eagles, a range that was a testomony to his distinctive expertise and potential as a linebacker. Over the course of his skilled profession, he performed for a number of groups, together with the Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, and Washington Soccer Workforce. 

Struggles with Psychological Well being – Private Challenges and Turning Factors

Regardless of the outward success and accolade that got here with being a first-round choose, Marcus confronted profound private challenges. The pressures {of professional} sports activities, mixed with private points, led to a interval of deep despair. In a candid revelation, Smith shared his battle with suicidal ideas, highlighting the customarily unseen psychological well being struggles that athletes can face. “I by no means had anybody to really speak to about what I used to be going to take care of as a professional. I used to be coping with anxiousness and despair for a very long time earlier than I knew what it really was,” Marcus revealed.

Due to the help of his spouse and mom, he sought assist and entered therapy at APN Lodge. There, Marcus realized to handle the foundation causes of his despair and anxiousness, gaining the instruments vital for his restoration. “One of many issues I realized was constructive self-talk and respiratory workout routines after which additionally meditation… I needed to observe these issues I realized and continued remedy. This isn’t one thing that’s going to go away; it’s a journey and one thing it’s a must to face and proceed to beat day by day,” Marcus shared. This era marked a major turning level in his life, as he sought assist and commenced his journey towards psychological well being restoration.

Marcus Finds His Advocacy with APN

As APN’s International Ambassador, Marcus Smith II makes use of his platform to encourage others to prioritize their psychological well being. An previous teammate launched Marcus to APN, resulting in a life-changing expertise. “An previous teammate informed me about APN, and I used to be simply blown away when he informed me, that’s what I want I want one thing like that and I had a possibility to come back out right here for 30 days. It was onerous leaving my children, however I wished to heal.”

Marcus Smith II’s advocacy is deeply related to All Factors North’s modern strategy to psychological well being therapy. At APN Lodge, he benefited from a variety of therapies and modalities designed to handle the distinctive wants of athletes and others fighting psychological well being points. 

These included personalised particular person remedy periods in addition to group remedy, which offered a supportive setting for Marcus and different people to share their experiences and construct a way of group. Marcus highlighted, “After I stepped in and I noticed different folks having conversations and speaking about a number of the similar stuff I’m coping with, I’m like I can’t be quiet anymore, I gotta get this off of me.”

{Couples} remedy additionally helped Marcus open up extra to his spouse, bettering their communication and strengthening their relationship. “I used to inform my spouse I don’t know what that is, however I don’t need to take care of this ache anymore,” he confessed. These therapies gave Marcus a holistic strategy to therapeutic and enabled him to learn to talk his innermost ideas with the folks closest to him and even strangers going by way of their very own therapeutic journeys.

Selling Different Approaches to Medication – A New Strategy to Athlete Well being

Lately, the difficulty of opioid habit has develop into a major concern, particularly amongst skilled athletes who had been typically prescribed these medicines for ache administration. In response to a 2020 research, 52% of NFL gamers use opioids throughout their careers, and 71% of these gamers misuse them. That is 3 times the speed of opioid use within the basic inhabitants. A 2020 College of Florida research discovered that half of former NFL gamers who used opioids early in retirement had been nonetheless utilizing them 9 years later. Opioid habit has been linked to quite a few damaging outcomes, together with exacerbated psychological well being points and irregular conduct.

All Factors North gives an alternate strategy to managing each bodily and psychological well being, specializing in non-addictive remedies and therapies. By serving as a worldwide ambassador for All Factors North, Marcus Smith II is championing this new mind-set about well being. He advocates for remedies that tackle the foundation causes of ache and psychological well being challenges with out the dangers related to opioid use. This strategy not solely helps in managing bodily ache but in addition helps total psychological well-being, aligning with a extra holistic and sustainable mannequin of athlete well being care.

Marcus’s position as an advocate for psychological well being and his work with APN highlights the necessity for complete and holistic well being care options. His efforts align with EVERFI’s instructional module on Black contributions in medication, emphasizing the significance of getting a various strategy to well being care. By selling psychological well being consciousness and supporting modern therapy strategies, Marcus contributes to a broader understanding of wellness that features each psychological and bodily well being.

Psychological Well being as a Pillar of Social Justice

Addressing psychological well being challenges is intrinsically linked to social justice. Psychological well being disparities typically disproportionately have an effect on marginalized communities, together with African Individuals {and professional} athletes who might face distinctive stressors and stigmas. Traditionally, psychological well being has been a taboo topic, significantly throughout the Black group and amongst athletes. Marcus’s openness about his struggles and his advocacy work assist to normalize these conversations, making it simpler for others to hunt assist with out worry of judgment.

By selling psychological well being consciousness and training, Marcus’s work aligns with the broader targets of the NFL’s Encourage Change initiative, which goals to empower communities by way of training, financial development, and improved group relations. Psychological well being is a foundational side of those targets, because it allows people to thrive, contribute to their communities, and construct stronger, more healthy relationships.

Conclusion and Name to Motion

Sharing Marcus’s Story

Marcus Smith II’s journey from skilled athlete to psychological well being advocate highlights the transformative energy of looking for assist and elevating consciousness. His work with All Factors North is making a major affect, encouraging others to prioritize their psychological well being and break the stigma surrounding psychological well being points. Lecturers can play a vital position on this motion by sharing Marcus’s story with their college students. Using EVERFI’s 306: Persevering with the Story module, educators can encourage college students to acknowledge the significance of variety in healthcare and perceive that Black contributions to medication are ongoing and impactful.

Inspiring the Subsequent Technology

By incorporating Marcus’s story into their curriculum, lecturers might help college students respect the important position of psychological well being in total well-being and the importance of numerous voices in healthcare. This instructional strategy not solely honors previous contributions but in addition empowers college students to be a part of a extra inclusive and compassionate future in medication.

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References:

All Factors North. (n.d.). Marcus Smith II: International ambassador. All Factors North. https://apn.com/marcus-smith-ii/

APN. (2022, October 20). Discovering id outdoors of soccer and despair: Restoration x Marcus Smith II [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sW0f1yF0sG0

Bell, G. (2017, October 4). Smith getting second probability on Seahawks line of defense. Kitsap Solar. https://www.kitsapsun.com/story/sports activities/nfl/seahawks/2017/10/04/smith-getting-second-chance-seahawks-defensive-line/731765001/

Domowitch, P. (2020, October 15). Former Eagles first-round choose Marcus Smith II opens up about his struggles with despair. The Philadelphia Inquirer. https://www.inquirer.com/newsletters/eagles/philadelphia-eagles-newsletter-marcus-smith-depression-nfl-20201015.html

Smith, M. (2020, October 14). I’m Nonetheless Right here. The Gamers Tribune https://www.theplayerstribune.com/posts/marcus-smith-nfl-mental-health

Stuart, A. (2018, March 20). Former Hardaway star Marcus Smith residing dream with NFL’s Seahawks. Ledger-Enquirer. https://www.ledger-enquirer.com/sports activities/high-school/article205972764.html

Superville, D. R. (2021, November 14). NFL gamers work to interrupt down psychological well being stigma. AP Information. https://apnews.com/article/nfl-mental-health-stigma-2053303f3f97fdee7f0923c63202165c

Wamsley, L. (2022, January 18). Marcus Smith II, former Eagles linebacker, transforms psychological well being struggles. WHYY. https://whyy.org/articles/marcus-smith-ii-former-eagles-linebacker-transforms-mental-health-struggles/

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In regards to the Writer: 

Erick, a Senior Supervisor on the Buyer Advertising group at EVERFI, holds a grasp’s diploma in Sports activities Administration from Georgetown College. With over a decade of expertise within the sports activities and media sector, Erick has cultivated a deep-seated ardour for making a significant distinction in marginalized or underrepresented communities. Earlier than becoming a member of EVERFI, Erick labored for Occasions DC, Washington, DC’s Sports activities & Conference Authority. He now helps EVERFI’s sports activities partnerships group, spearheading advertising and occasion initiatives that have interaction college students round essential matters together with character training, psychological wellness, and STEM. 

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