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Steve Smith is glad that mental health of cricketers is in focus after some of his compatriots took breaks to deal with their issues, which he feels, are compounded by ‘hectic’ playing schedules.

Steve Smith has been a strong advocate for mental health awareness

Steve Smith said in the Australian dressing room players are now notifying details of their sleeping patterns and stress levels to the team management, helping in better understanding of their well-being.

“It is a pretty hectic schedule nowadays,” Smith was quoted as saying by ‘ESPNCricinfo.’ “It’s bloody tough to sustain it for long periods of time, particularly I think for the fast bowlers. It’s extremely difficult what they put themselves through. It’s great that those conversations are happening and we’re trying to keep guys as mentally and physically fresh as they can be,” he said.

Virat Kohli had recently opened up about the subject, stating that it was ‘remarkable’ that Glenn Maxwell made that admission.

“You know when you get to the international stage, every player that’s in the squad needs that communication – that ability to speak out. I think what Glenn has done is remarkable,” Kohli had said on the eve of the first Test against Bangladesh in Indore.

“I have gone through a phase in my career where it was the end of the world,” said Kohli. “In England 2014, I just didn’t know what to do, what say to anyone, how to speak, how to communicate. I could have said that I am not feeling great mentally and need to get away from the game. But you never know how that’s taken.”

But what are the reason for mental health issues. While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Jawahar Singh, a senior resident doctor from the psychiatric department at AIIMS Hospital, said, “Nowadays even players and celebrities face mental health issues. There are two reasons behind this, one is their busy schedules due to which they cannot take out some quality time for themselves.”

“Even an impact on their performance can affect them, even their status can play a role in affecting their well-being,” he added.

While Dr Pranad Joshi, an MD psychiatrist from Joshi Hospital, Nanded, said, “Fans expect cricketers to play well and want actors to deliver a good performance. The fans judge their performance. Also, they have to travel for long periods of time and stay away from their family. They also have inadequate sleep and have long working hours. This creates pressure on them. At times, they even have to deal with trolls on social media. All these factors affect their mental health.”

Australia coach Justin Langer is hopeful cricket’s understanding of mental health will soon be at the same level as its understanding of concussion.

“There’s a really clear protocol on concussion and how it’s built up and I’m really hopeful that in the really complex matter of mental health, we can get to a point where there’s really clear protocol and there’s no stresses about it and no indignity in saying I’m not OK,” Langer said.

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