You and your fellow athletes are exposed to a lot of pressure throughout your career and managing that is a large part of maintaining your mental fitness.

Henry has seen the conversation around mental health evolve over his career and believes that the topic is much easier to speak about nowadays.

Regardless of your circumstances, creating a strong support network can help any athlete strengthen their mental resilience.


I think it’s now a lot easier for us to bring up this issue when we talk with colleagues, and for you, as athletes, there is not so much stigma anymore.

Henry Li

Why athlete mental health is unique

Athletes may present unique considerations when it comes to mental health support. For most people with a mental health issue, a common way to help them would be advising them to leave that area and take some time for rest. But you and other athletes may still want or need to continue in your situation because that’s your career, and it is still the goal you want to pursue.

Some of you may just enjoy this kind of fuel and excitement in competition, while others may love the sport but not necessarily love those anxieties, and definitely not when it comes to clinical level. From a sports psychology perspective, we want to help you react to or cope with the emotional experience in a more effective way. That’s the key issue, and mental health in the form of self-awareness is one important part.

An evolving conversation

I’ve been in this job for more than 10 years, and I would say that from my perspective, the atmosphere surrounding mental health has improved. Years ago, we didn’t talk much about mental health. When we did, I would mainly be talking about performance enhancement, or how to have a positive mindset. I think it’s now a lot easier for us to bring up this issue when we talk with colleagues, and for you, as athletes, there is not as much stigma anymore.

In Hong Kong, we now have a very established industry of clinical psychology and psychiatrists. How that can be put into a sporting context is something that we are continuing to explore. I might come across athletes who need further assistance in their mental health experience, and I would refer them to a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist.

When we remove the stigma and make these services available, the winners are athletes across the world, not only in Hong Kong or Asian countries. In the UK, they have a centre for mental health; the Australians and Canadians also have dedicated mental health teams within sports psychology, and it’s important that athletes like you have clear information from within your sporting infrastructure letting you know that if you need anything, there are professionals there to help.


Just like any other career, athletes may struggle or have temporary setbacks along the way, but if they have the right support, it might not negatively affect their performance or overall well-being .

Henry Li

A strong support network is key

Whether or not you have access to mental health resources, it is good to have a social support network around you. Many don’t reach out for professional help but do reach friends and family where they feel secure and supported enough to talk about themselves.

Coaches are another element. Ensuring that there is a good athlete-coach dynamic, where you are supported by a coach who you can rely on, is very important for the mental side as well.

Just like any other career, athletes may struggle or have temporary setbacks along the way, but if they have the right support, it might not negatively affect their performance or overall well-being .

To hear more about the mental health resources available on Athlete365, check out our #MentallyFit page.