As American as Baseball, But Less Well Watched, and Less Talked About

The iconic image of a baseball diamond. Photo by jcoop585 from

This week has brought us the return of the fall classic, also known as the World Series. And what could be more American than watching baseball, arguing about the manager’s decisions, and cheering on our team? Well, maybe battling through mental illness, not talking about it, then being shocked when someone takes their own life. 

Roughly one in four people struggle with a diagnosable mental illness. That means chances are that you know someone, maybe even love someone, who struggles. Yet how often do we talk about mental illness? Think about it, when was the last time you talked about baseball, even if you aren’t a baseball fan? Now think about the last time you had a serious conversation about mental illness.

The stigma surrounding mental illness only grows in the silence. And as American as that may seem, at least judging by our behavior, it is long overdue that that changes. Because together we can knock that stigma out of the park. 

We need to make talking about mental illness as American as baseball. We especially need to make it so that guys can talk about their mental health as well as the health of their team’s starting lineup. Because although women are more likely to be diagnosed, men are more likely to die by suicide.

These are changes that need to happen. Otherwise, true progress for mental health will continue to strikeout.

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