Washington Receiver Leaves, Spotlights Anxiety & Depression Awareness

Now former Washington Receiver, Isaiah Renfro, is leaving the Huskies to continue treatment for his depression and anxiety. He bounced back and forth on whether he was going to do it, but eventually posted a message on his Instagram and Twitter outlining why he’s making this decision and his struggle with anxiety and depression. When well-known celebrities and athletes come out about their mental health struggles, it shines a light on things like anxiety and depression awareness.

Pushing past the stigma

Especially in football, a stigma surrounds those who put something on pause to get treatment–they often get called “quitters”. Because of this, Renfro kept his mouth shut about his rising issues with depression and anxiety, fearing he would be labeled as a “quitter” or be unable to play football.

“I didn’t feel like I was confident. I’m usually joking around, dancing around — I didn’t feel myself doing that anymore.” –Isaiah Renfro, Former Washington Receiver

depression awareness

Photo credit: flickr user – Sarah McDevitt

He quickly realized that he needed treatment, which is why he missed spring training camp. Renfro attended a treatment program at a hospital designed to help those struggling with mental illness. He said it helped him gain better coping skills for when he was really hitting rock bottom. It wasn’t enough, though. That’s why he’s leaving football. He needs time to work through his issues and become healthy again.

He spoke about the unsaid guidelines in football: “You’re never allowed to be hurt, you always have to be strong, you can’t cry, you can’t have feelings.” He explained that their definition of “strong” isn’t really strong, it’s just shoving down your feelings and becoming mentally unstable.

Emphasizes anxiety & depression awareness

Renfro is setting a fantastic example for young sports fans and players everywhere: It’s okay to not be okay. Mental illnesses aren’t rare, many people deal with them, but rarely do they seek out aid because of the stigma surrounding them. Anxiety and depression awareness is extremely important in changing the public’s perception. Renfro is unknowingly spotlighting anxiety and depression awareness when he comes out and admits to his faults. He’s seeking help, and that sends the message to others that it’s okay for them to do so, too.

After the support he’s received by coming out with his message of struggle, he says he’s interested in spreading anxiety and depression awareness by speaking at colleges.

Elevations RTC can help

Elevations RTC is a residential treatment facility for teens of all genders, ages 13 to 18, grappling with anxiety, depression, substance use, and other emotional or behavioral issues. We strive to help each student succeed and move toward a bright future.

For more information about Elevations RTC, please call today!

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