September is suicide awareness month. And for student-athletes, mental health is something that has been brought to the attention of many people.
The day to day schedule student-athletes can be grueling and can put a strain on their mental health. These athletes are expected to perform well, make good grades and sometimes even look a certain way to make their coaches happy.
For former LSU gymnast Bailey Ferrer, her recovery process for her eating disorder is greatly paying off. Bailey started at LSU in spring of 2019 and competed in most of the meets, including when the team won the SEC Championship and were the NCAA Championship runner-up. Soon after that, the struggle started with her eating.
“Gymnastics has a stigma about being tall and lean and artistic and I was more of a powerhouse gymnast,” Ferrer said. After a small surgery after her freshman year, she felt that the only thing she could control was her eating since she wasn't able to practice in the gym.
“I kind of started to realize I was starting to cut out food groups that I needed to survive and do gymnastics, and it started to downward spiral from there," she said. "I wanted to please everyone; I wanted to be the perfect gymnast instead of working on what my perfect was."
She then went to Jefferson Oaks, an outpatient facility that helped her find her way again.
"This is why you shouldn’t suck it up and play," Athletic Director of Health and Wellnes Shelly Mullinex said. "You can’t expect to be entertained and not allow these people to be human."
Ferrer is now using what she learned at Jefferson Oaks and now is using her platform to help others.