Aleister Black wants people to realise mental health care is about more than saying the right thing.
The WWE superstar – who was traded from Raw to SmackDown as part of this year’s draft – has opened up about his own battles and insisted sometimes, ‘just being there is enough’.
Speaking candidly to Sports Illustrated, he said: ‘The biggest problem is that, for people who have mental health problems, there are no words, there is no care, and there are no things you can say to someone having an anxiety attack or on the edge of what they’re mentally capable of.
‘If the world starts to understand that part, it would mean a great deal. Sometimes, for people who have mental health problems, just being there is enough. Being able to let them talk and hear their voice.
‘Even if you don’t understand what that person is going through, the fact that you’re there might make all the difference.’
Opening up around World Mental Health Day, Black – who is married to fellow wrestler Zelina Vega in real life – noted how his wife ‘doesn’t always understand what [he’s] going through’.
‘But the fact she’ll be in the room with me, there with me, makes all the difference,’ he admitted. ‘Knowing that there are people who care for you and won’t try to undermine what you’re feeling or influence how you should be feeling, that is very meaningful.’
The Dutch superstar – who made his name in the UK and Europe with title reigns in wXw in Germany and London’s PROGRESS Wrestling before jumping to the US in 2016 – explained how tough it can be for him to separate his work and home life.
‘I wish it were that easy. But it’s not. It’s because I have that hyper-sensitivity and that hyper-anxiety that I take everything home,’ he said.
‘For people to understand that, that is where the difference is being made. Not in the, “Come on man, you’re going to be fine.” That doesn’t help.
‘But what does is, “Hey, I might not understand what you’re going through, but I’m here – if you want me to go, if you want me to stay.” We shouldn’t tell people how to feel.’
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