JAMES O.M. FAMINU
"I have personally dealt with MENtal health challenges surrounding major depressive episodes. The pressure of Division I football, along with the personal struggles that my family was dealing with back home in London due to my mother's health had sent me into a dark place that I barely survived. Having to devote all of my time and effort to sport, on top of college education is a challenge that not all can rise up to. This can truly make allocating time for yourself more difficult because we are also human
and we all deal with our own personal issues. Having to deal with these MENtal challenges was hell at the time, but as I've begun to recover and look back at my journey, I wouldn't change a single thing that has happened to me. I have developed a stronger will that cannot be broken & although it made the early part of my career more challenging, I know in
my future I will succeed due to the knowledge that I can survive
God's toughest battles even when it felt like I couldn't. My current MENtal state is stable. I've been able to achieve an element of peace that I am now extremely protective of because I know how hard it was to get back to this balance. I am still growing and healing daily, and now I fully understand that keeping a healthy MENtal state takes constant work & appreciation of where I have come from. I felt very alone in the institution I was in, especially being an international student with none of my close family members around, but God blessed me with teammates that I now call family that I could confide in and help each other through the tough times. My friends & family back home were very helpful, even though they weren't physically with me, I wouldn't have been able to sustain myself without
their encouragement and giving me a reason to continue working. Even at a time I didn't want to live for myself... they became my reason and purpose. The advice I give to young athletes struggling with MENtal health challenges is first recognizing and admitting to yourself that you're in need of help. Next is to find your network of people in your life that you can
trust and confide in, and if you don't have that seek help from organizations, or the institution that you're in. Lastly, forgive yourself. You're not weak, you are human & we all need help at times. That doesn't make you less of a man or woman, it takes courage to admit that you're hurt & it has taken a massive amount of strength for you to come this far dealing with it alone... You are loved and God has a plan, but we must always put our MENtal health first."