George Russell has opened up about his experience of talking with a mental health specialist, as the Mercedes driver offered an insight into the reasons why he chose to do so, and why he feels society should not be ashamed to ask for help.
In a comprehensive interview with Men’s Health magazine, Russell expressed how his perception of mental health had changed in the last two years, before revealing just how beneficial speaking to a psychologist had been for him both inside and outside of an F1 cockpit.
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“I haven’t always been into my mental health. I only started getting into it about a year and a half, two years ago, when I started to speak with a psychologist, mainly for my on-track personal performance,” Russell revealed.
“It was only through those conversations that I felt like this is giving me more than just the on-track benefits. I’m coming away from these sessions feeling better about myself, feeling like there had been a weight lifted off my shoulders.”
He added: “Sometimes I went into these sessions with not a lot to talk about, thinking it would only last five or 10 minutes, and I was there well over an hour and since then it has been something I have felt strongly about.”
Russell also opened up about the “low point” in his career that caused him to seek professional help, with the Briton explaining how he could see the positives in speaking to a psychologist almost immediately.
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“The moment when I thought I need to seek some professional help, I had a really difficult race. I had a crash, [and] it was a very low point in my career,” Russell revealed. “I thought I could just pick myself up from that moment and I was picking myself up, but we decided to speak with a professional.
“And I was so grateful that I was advised to do that because I came away from that conversation and that meeting with him feeling so much better about myself, and put those negatives to the side, lifted myself up, and I was ready to attack the rest of the day and the rest of the week.”
When asked what advice he would give to someone who is struggling with their mental health, Russell replied: “The one bit of advice I would give to someone who is struggling with their mental health would be not to be ashamed about talking to somebody. Whether that is a friend, or a colleague, or a member of your family, or reaching out to a professional.
“We all have our moments where we are feeling a bit down, a little bit low but even when we are not, I think talking to somebody to almost have this mental maintenance just to keep ticking over, to keep in that positive place, is so important.”