The sport of bodybuilding has seen more than a couple athletes take their own lives in recent months. This has 8x Mr. Olympia Lee Haney bothered, as he calls for athletes to stick together amidst these trying times.
Haney knows how important mental health is, especially for bodybuilders. There is a culture among these athletes in particular, about being too strong to open up about their inner struggles.
In recent times, with the global pandemic in particular, bodybuilders have been left feeling like they have no other option but to take their own lives. We have seen a spike in suicides generally, but bodybuilders seem specifically vulnerable in these times.
This is an issue that has been weighing heavy on the heart of bodybuilding legend Lee Haney. He spoke in a recent interview about how much he is bothered by these unnecessary deaths.
He is heartbroken to hear of so many bodybuilders taking their own lives, such as Luke Sandoe, and more recently Laura Bass. So he hopes to see the bodybuilding community stick together, and he implores people to find help if they need it.
“I am disturbed by it,” Haney said.
“I heard about the suicide of this beautiful young woman, Laura Bass. I heard about that recently, and with Luke, that still plays on my heart.
“I just watched him on the cover of MD magazine the other day, and my heart just melted. I just wish we would be more inviting to people. You know, how are you?
“Reach out to your friends. Just pick up the telephone and say ‘Hello, are you okay man?’ Are you really okay, not just this fly-by thing of ‘Oh, how ya doing?’
“Don’t just say it for a nice thing to say. Really mean it from your heart, and try to reach out and help people. Take your time and really love them, and find out what’s going (on) in their life.
“A lot of times, they’ll open up and say ‘Look man, I’m really struggling. I’m feeling this way, I’m feeling that way.'”
Haney goes on to explain that he likes to put a ton of focus on who people are outside of the gym. He wants people to know what their purpose is in life, because otherwise you can lose your way.
“If you don’t have a reason or a purpose, then you can lose your way,” he said.
“I found that one of my biggest blessings has come in the way of being able to help someone else.”
He concedes by saying that most of the time, when you feel the world is ending, that is likely not the case. So it is important to look out for your own mental wellbeing, and the condition of others.
It is good to see Lee Haney advocating for this type of delicate issue within the bodybuilding, and the larger world. There is a lot of negativity in the world right now, and we have to look out for each other.