Note: For some reason, the video works for some folks, but not others. Here is the direct link to the video on YouTube.
Today was World Mental Health Day. I spent it by taking the day off and doing things for my own mental health. This included watching some videos and a little bit of writing, but mostly just thinking and reflecting on life and how to get a better balance on the many things that intersect with my mind and my personal life from day-to-day.
The video above would have never been made 20 years ago. In that sense, the world has come a long way in being open about mental health. The drivers have some good things to say as well. We still have so much farther to go, but this is a good first step.
There are criticisms it doesn’t go far enough, but we have to start somewhere. Before he retired, Romain Grosjean spoke openly about how a psychologist helped him become a better driver and a better person. Lando Norris now speaks about his struggles openly and how he has impacted others in ways he didn’t realize. Valtteri Bottas gave an interview with Beyond the Grid about his struggles with Mercedes and the toll one-year contracts over five years and the constant comparisons to his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, widely considered one of the best drivers of all time, took on him mentally. As time goes on, more drivers are willing to talk about mental health.
In the video, the drivers reflected on themselves and provided a positive message.
Esteban Ocon said, “If you don’t feel good in your head you’re not going to feel good physically, you’re not going to feel good in whatever you do. It’s the head that decides everything.”
“There’s this weird threshold that we are not able to overcome to not talk about our feelings because we think it’s a sign of weakness,” Sebastian Vettel said.
Peirre Gasly acknowledged that it has only been in the last few years that drivers, and people in general, have begun to talk about mental health.
Lando Norris talked about how he struggled with not seeing immediate success, but that it was important to keep going. He spoke earlier this year about his extension with McLaren and how it provided him a good work/life balance.
Sebastian Vettel added if you break your leg, you go to the doctor and ask them to help you, whereas if there is an issue with your head, with your feelings and emotions, we tend to not take care of it and ignore it, and do the opposite of what would help.
Carlos Sainz thought it was good all the drivers have opened up about themselves over the past few years. “It’s no secret we’ve all doubted ourselves.”
Charles Leclerc thought all F1 drivers were strong and had no problems. Now that he is in the same position, he realizes how important mental health is and they had the same problems he does.
Daniel Ricciardo mentioned how it is absolutely okay to seek help and speak to a therapist.
Mick Schumacher mentioned training your mind every day and doing little things, even if it’s just one thing, like a walk in the park.
Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas spoke about social media, saying specifically how it could be toxic, but is also a great way to interact with fans.
Lance Stroll spoke about being aware of how you treat others. “Think about what you’re saying to that person and how you’re going to affect that person in what you have to say.”
Checo stressed how important it is to learn from your mistakes and become a better human being and to try to not worry about things you can’t control, rather put your energy into things you can control.
Pierre Gasly went on to say sometimes you struggle and he has struggled a lot, but there will be better days.
Lewis Hamilton said life is “so precious.” He spoke directly to the audience telling them “you matter, every single one of us matter, you’re unique and incredible and beautiful and powerful beyond our understanding.”
Nicholas Latifi said he doesn’t think mental health should be taboo. “It’s normal. It’s nothing to be ashamed about.”
Sebastian Vettel mentioned he is seeing a change happening and people are opening up, but the feeling of being ashamed and “admitting your are seeking help needs to disappear.”
Valterri Bottas added his struggles with mental health have been complicated, but the main thing is to show support to people who are seeking help and never doubt someone who speaks up and asks for help.
As the day draws to a close, I appreciate the effort of the drivers and Formula 1 for putting the video out there.