The Hidden Opponent advocates for student-athlete mental health

The hidden opponent is a club at Fuquay Varina High School, dedicated to focusing on the mental health of athletes.
The hidden opponent is a club at Fuquay Varina High School, dedicated to focusing on the mental health of athletes.
Ella Wachtel

The Hidden Opponent is an organization and club at FVHS that promotes the support of student-athletes’ mental health. In addition to this, THO is dedicated to breaking down the stigma that surrounds mental health. 

Co-president of THO, senior Leah Heidepriem, said, “The importance of THO’s message is to advocate for student athletes’ mental health, to help break the stigma that surrounds it, to help provide resources for those who need them and to let other athletes and students know they aren’t alone.”

Taking care of yourself in regard to mental health and stability is very important. Without good mental health, many aspects of your life will deteriorate. 

“Prioritizing your mental health benefits your overall quality of life by helping you be able to function properly in your everyday life because if you’re in the right mindset, it can help you do right by yourself such as being healthy physically and emotionally, and being able to enjoy life and not make it feel like a chore and a pain each day.” 

Student-athletes are also at risk for low esteem and poor mental health because of the added stress of taking on a sport, which takes up a large portion of their time. Poor performance can negatively impact mental health, and poor mental health can negatively impact performance both at school as well as in sports. 

“As a student-athlete, some ways you can prioritize your mental health is not overworking yourself and focusing on the good you have done. Always make sure you understand your boundaries physically and mentally. Don’t burn yourself out,” Heidepriem stated.

THO meets on the third Thursday of each month at 2:45 in the 2300 common area. 

Day in and day out, people struggle with their mental health and may lack the resources needed to better themselves. THO’s goal is to better the mental health of student-athletes and students, as the importance of mental health awareness in students has risen in recent years, the importance of mental health resources is also rising. 

“I would encourage people to attend because it’s a really important message to spread and it can help provide them with the resources they may need. It’s a safe space for anyone and welcoming. We all just want to help stop the stigma surrounding athletes’ mental health,” Heidepriem said.

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