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Marcin Gortat faces backlash for mocking mental health; suggests drinking as solution

Marcin Gortat faces backlash for mocking mental health; suggests drinking as solution

Image source: © Strefa Chanasa / YouTube
Maja Kozłowska,
09.05.2024 12:30

Marcin Gortat was a guest on the ‘Strefa Chanasa’ video interview series. During his conversation with host Kamil Chanas, he questioned the need for young people to seek psychotherapy.

There has been a growing public discussion about mental health over the years. Experts warn that mental fitness should be given the same importance as physical fitness. Mental disorders are serious illnesses that can even lead to death. Although the awareness around mental health is increasing, the situation is still far from perfect. Children still feel ashamed to ask for help, psychological support in schools is often inadequate, and the waiting times to see a therapist on the National Health Service can stretch over several months.

Despite the greater openness with which mental illnesses are being talked about and normalised, a part of Polish society still disregards care for mental health. Some people are still convinced that mental disorders are just 'imaginary' and that the best cure for feeling low is to go out for a walk, catch some sun, go for a run, or meet up with friends.

One person who trivialises mental health care is Polish basketball player Marcin Gortat. During an appearance on 'Strefa Chanasa,' he laughed at the idea of a sports psychologist and made fun of teenagers who receive specialist help early on in their careers.

Marcin Gortat vs taking care of mental health. Who needs a psychologist when you have friends?

During an interview with Kamil Chanas, Marcin Gortat spoke about the role of a sports psychologist in developing young players’ careers. He made controversial statements, starting with, "I don't want to be punished for what I say." Despite being aware that his views might not be well-received, Gortat argued that the issues faced by young people were not as severe as they were made out to be.

According to Gortat, "Going to a sports psychologist at the age of 14-20 may not be necessary. It's when you enter adult basketball at the age of 20 and face decisions like signing big contracts, changing continents or countries to play, considering your family's needs, and playing for the senior national team that you might require the assistance of a psychologist."

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He added that the best help comes from older colleagues, not professionals and that problems are best solved over coffee, dinner, or a drink.

It is important to note that while friends can be a valuable source of support when dealing with depression or other mental health issues, they cannot replace professional help. Reaching out for professional help as soon as possible is crucial, as early intervention can significantly improve outcomes.

Marcin Gortat mocks teenage problems

"It is hard to believe that someone as young as 15 or 18 can struggle with mental health issues", suggests Gortat.

Unfortunately, Gortat forgets that young basketball players need to face various challenges. For instance, they may feel pressure to perform well, have difficulty balancing sports and school, struggle with self-esteem, and find it hard to manage their time between training, studying, and other commitments.

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Additionally, young people may doubt whether basketball is the right path for them. Puberty can also be a difficult time, with hormonal changes and uncontrolled emotions taking their toll on teenagers. Unfortunately, Marcin Gortat's advice on mental health for young athletes is shallow and trivialising, which is even more evident in his suggestion the way to avoid problems is to simply "avoid social media".

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