Vikings’ C.J. Ham opens up about mental health and the importance of using his platform for good

 Vikings’ C.J. Ham opens up about mental health and the importance of using his platform for good

Minnesota Vikings fullback CJ Ham uses his platform to discuss important topics and normalize talk about mental health. Ham said growing up, a term like “mental illness” carried a negative connotation and was not understood by the community he lived in.

Going forward, he wants to open up the conversation and make others feel visible.

He said in his early years, mental health was “less important” to him.

“Yeah, we talked about it at school, but it was easy,” he said. “It was a part of the curriculum, but it didn’t have to hit home. You were thinking about someone who had issues that had nothing to do with you, so you didn’t look at them, and you never gave them away. .many thought. “

Now that he knows the topic better, he knows it’s important to discuss it openly and normalize the topic.

He said that in particular men find it difficult to accept mental health struggles, citing pride as the main reason men don’t want to show “weakness” or “weaknesses.”

From a personal perspective, he said, “As a Black man, experiencing injustice – from a young age in all ways until now – the things that weigh on you When it comes to self -worth and feeling like you’ve had enough, [wondering] if people really care who you are. “

He added:

“I think that’s one of the reasons why I think men generally don’t want to put themselves in that light – because they don’t want people to see them in their darkest. times … where they need help … issues, with things that can cripple us.Everyone is on a different level of thinking.But looking at people who have influence to be able to go out and share these things with the world, to be vulnerable, to normalize it.It is humane for us to be when children [or others] as such, they do not feel alone. “

It got to the point that his physical health was also affected, he couldn’t sleep, had stomach ache and was hyperventilating due to childhood experiences that he hadn’t told openly.

The senior year at Augustana College he asked for help, and got help to fight his gaping and from there he no longer allowed it to introduce him.

“It’s something I’ve been allowed to explain for a long time, that it’s affected my day-to-day; it’s affected my interactions with other people,” he said.

“And finally when I was able to hold on to that and grab that, I was released from it. I think that was a big step for all of us to watch-whatever happens in your life, no matter what you face, don’t let it define who you are. ”… You [more] than your mental state. Ikaw na [more] than that disability you can struggle with. “

He went on, saying, “There’s no more power when you get it out of the dark. These opportunities keep coming to me to speak in front of thousands of people, or just interact with people, and know I if I say ‘no,’ it still holds me.… I can’t get better, I can’t turn it on.I think because of me saying ‘yes’ and working on it, I believe God is using my weakness to be one of my strongest points in my life. “

Even if Ham asks for help and has a better grip on his mental health, that doesn’t mean he always feels his best. He says there have been times of struggle, but the continued openness about it has positively affected him.

Ham said he wants all the players and fans to hear his message and know that he understands the struggles they are going through.

Having the ability to share his message with others is something he takes seriously.

“We’re football players, we’re athletes, but we’re more than that,” he said. “God has given me this platform, where I am today, to illuminate the larger topics that the world needs to hear and really need to trust.”

She wants kids to know they are not alone when they feel what she used to be and she wants to encourage others to have a platform to speak up and normalize conversations.

Ham is already entering his sixth season in the NFL as an undefeated player taken by the Vikings in 2016. He made the Pro Bowl in 2019.

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