'Took medicines,' Ben Stokes highlights his struggle with mental health
Cricketers across the globe have been prioritizing their mental health of late. England's Test captain Ben Stokes, who recently retired from ODI cricket, is one of them. In a documentary on Amazon, Stokes highlighted his struggles with mental health and that he takes medication for anxiety. In 2021, he took a six-month break from international cricket to focus on his mental health.
Why does this story matter?
- In July 2021, Stokes withdrew from England's Test squad ahead of his nation's five-match series against India.
- The star cricketer then took an indefinite break from cricket with immediate effect to prioritize his mental well-being.
- Although he returned to cricket later that year, his hiatus started a wave of safeguarding mental health across the cricket fraternity.
- The cricket boards have also shown solidarity.
Never thought I would be on medication: Stokes
"I never thought I would be on medication to help me for that kind of stuff [anxiety]. I am not embarrassed or ashamed to say it because I needed the help," Stokes said in the documentary. "But it's not done just because I'm back playing. I still speak to the doctor, not as regularly, and I'm taking medication every day. It's an ongoing process."
ECB backed Stokes' decision in 2021
In 2021, former England Director of Cricket, Ashley Giles, backed Stokes' decision to take a break. Giles said Stokes showed tremendous courage to open up about his feelings. He also said that the ECB's "primary focus will continue to be the mental health and the welfare of everyone involved". In short, the ECB gave Stokes the time he wanted to recuperate.
Stokes remains honest about his mental health
Stokes feels "people are nervous to go into detail" about mental health. However, he wants to stay honest about the same. "It's perceived you can't feel a certain way - that's a sign of weakness to show that you are not mentally feeling great. People think they can't ask people who have struggled. I'll happily tell you as much as I can," he added.
Stokes returned during 2021/22 Ashes
One of the greatest all-rounders of the contemporary era, Stokes, returned to cricket in December 2021 during the 2021/22 Ashes Down Under. Earlier this year, he replaced Joe Root as England's captain in Test cricket. Stokes then went on to retire from ODI cricket. Although he termed it an "incredibly tough decision", he said he can't give his 100% in the format.
One of the greatest all-rounders
Stokes is regarded as the best all-rounder to wear the colors of Three Lions after the legendary Sir Ian Botham. He has registered 5,320 runs and 185 wickets in 84 Tests. As far as ODIs are concerned, the 31-year-old finished with 2,924 runs and 74 wickets. He helped England win the 2019 World Cup with a superb knock in the final against New Zealand.