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Mental Health Newsbeat

Sunday, April 12, 2015

M.L.B. Teams Nurture Players’ Mental Health - NYTimes.com

For Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer, Josh Lifrak is just like the hitting coach John Mallee or the pitching coach Chris Bosio.

Lifrak is the director of the team’s mental-skills program, while Mallee and Bosio are two vital members of Manager Joe Maddon’s coaching staff. Hoyer looks at each of them in a similar way, and he knows what that means in terms of a shift in thinking when it comes to mental health and major league baseball.

“I think that it used to be the kind of thing that people would talk to people. They didn’t, like, advertise it,” Hoyer said. “Some guys were ashamed of it, and some people didn’t want to have any part of it. I think now it’s almost impossible to find someone who doesn’t understand that your mental-skills coach is no different than a hitting coach or a pitching coach. He’s a guy that can really help your players get better.

“That’s a shift from, like, partial acceptance to, like, total acceptance in a very short amount of time.”

Jim Furtado Posted: April 12, 2015 at 08:43 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: mental health

Sunday, April 05, 2015

The New Yorker: Ways to Stay Sane in Baseball

This offseason, a few ball clubs announced new initiatives to support their players’ mental health. The Red Sox created a new department of behavioral health, headed by Richard Ginsburg, the co-director of the PACES Institute of Sports Psychology, at Massachusetts General Hospital. The Washington Nationals began spring training with a new position known as “life skills” coördinator. The former player Rick Ankiel was hired for the job, and will work specifically with the club’s minor-league teams—where such a position is arguably needed the most. Most minor-league players earn less than two thousand dollars a month and have to cover their own housing and living expenses. Insufficient funds and relatively few days off during a five-month season—which extends well beyond that if you consider spring training and winter ball—separates players from their families and loved ones for long stretches of time. And, after you’ve dedicated your life to the game, there’s the pressure that comes from the belief that you’ve only achieved success if you make it to the majors—a dream that, even for a player in the minor leagues, will likely never be realized.

Remember how curious it seemed when McGwire admitted to seeing a sports psychologist for years?

Cloude Atlas (Voxter) Posted: April 05, 2015 at 11:15 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mental health, minor leagues, nationals, red sox

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Peter: Accident or Suicide?

Worth reading all the way through.

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas—Detective Juan Guerrero pulled back the yellow blanket that covered Brad Halsey, a 33-year-old former major league pitcher. He inspected the cold body found at the base of a 100-foot cliff on private property near the Guadalupe River, about 30 miles northeast of San Antonio.

No cuts or scratches. No sign of a struggle. No evidence of homicide, the detective concluded. Both legs looked broken, he noted, likely caused by the impact of a fall. Probably suicide, the detective said he thought early that Halloween afternoon.

Then Guerrero checked Halsey’s black Honda parked nearby. On the passenger’s seat he found a baseball glove, a baseball and a flier advertising pitching lessons Halsey was offering. No suicide note.

A week later, with an autopsy showing Halsey died from blunt force injuries, Guerrero told the captain of investigations at the Comal County Sheriff’s Office he thought Halsey likely died in an accidental fall. Yet the detective says he still wonders, and the case remains open pending the completion of a toxicology report. ...

Public records and interviews with former coaches, teammates and friends show Halsey was quiet, private, quirky, smart and witty. But his behavior changed as he tried to hang on to a fading baseball career and fell victim to prescription and recreational drug abuse.

Less than four months ago, police found Halsey walking chest-deep in the nearby Comal River and identifying himself as Lucifer. Officers had responded to a call about a man who fit Halsey’s description throwing rocks at people floating by on inner tubes and talking to people no one else could see.

Halsey said he was prepared to fight “Mitch,” but witnesses said they saw no other man. After Halsey exited the river and turned unruly, police put him in shackles and drove him to an area hospital for evaluation. The police report noted Halsey had mental problems due to drug use.

A few months earlier, according to two men who spent time with the former pitcher in the last months of his life, Halsey told them he had schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The men also said Halsey made an outrageous statement, claiming he was on cocaine and other drugs when he gave up Bonds’ historic home run and had spent much of the $1 million he made during his baseball career on drugs.

JE (Jason) Posted: December 16, 2014 at 10:45 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: drugs, mental health, suicide

 

 

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