Macarena Sánchez, who played a fundamental role in promoting the professionalization of women’s football in Argentina, spoke publicly about her diagnosis of depression with the aim of helping other people who may be going through the same thing.
“Talking about my depression was the first step to moving forward,” the current San Lorenzo forward said in an interview with Fifpro, an international footballers’ organization made up of 40 national associations and some 38,000 members.
“It happened in March 2020. I had been feeling quite bad, although I did not dare to comment openly. Not even in therapy. I began to feel that my life was worthless, that it made no sense. That everything I had, everything I had achieved, it was not enough for me. I wanted to disappear, to die, “said Maca Sánchez.
“In one session I felt that I couldn’t take it anymore, I had the need to ask for help. And I did. I remember that it took a lot for me to get out of the office. I was in a very vulnerable situation. From there I began a process with the psychiatrist. It was the first step to begin to heal a lot of things. Only then can he begin to assimilate that what he was having was a mental illness. He had to face it, get ahead. And he had to ask for help. That was the first big step, “he said. .
“The situation began to affect me professionally. I was not in a condition to train or play. And the pandemic made it even more difficult. The break occurred during a game in which I started crying at halftime. I couldn’t continue. And then the coaching staff began to realize what was happening “.
Sánchez highlighted the support of his family and his closest people, and also of San Lorenzo: “The club behaved extremely well with me. They understood me a lot, everything contrary to what I could think. They knew that I was not prepared to train. and they knew how to accompany me. It was not easy: I had been hiding it out of shame and also out of fear that this would come out in the media with all the stigmas behind a depression … “.
For Macarena Sánchez, who in addition to being a player is the Executive Director of the National Youth Institute of Argentina, it is very important to make mental health problems in soccer visible. “We must be sincere: clubs are not prepared to face situations of this kind in their squads. And we can only begin to face them when we begin to talk about the subject openly. It is important to debate it and stop making it a taboo subject. Especially in women’s football “.
“There is absolutely nothing! There are very few teams that have a psychologist or psychologist. The clubs pay much attention to the physical integrity of the footballers, but not so much in the mental integrity. And I have no doubts that the well-being of a person goes through a balance between both things, “he added.
“Let’s think about footballers: we are usually put on a pedestal where it is believed that our lives are resolved. But we must distance ourselves from that idea and understand that, like anyone else, we also suffer a lot of pressure. We have a lot of pressure. another life, normal, which also affects our football performance “.
Maca Sánchez confided that he was in contact with a professional footballer and that “he quickly told me that depression in football is very frequent, especially in the male environment. And then I realized that it was important for me to tell myself what it’s happening. Because I have an important voice in football that can reach out to others. “
From his role in the Injuve, Sánchez highlighted a chilling fact: “Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among adolescents in Argentina. It is a shocking fact that must reach all of us: we must accompany those who suffer from problems mental health “.
“Those who suffer have to know that there are a lot of people willing to accompany them. They have to know that they are not alone, they are not alone, and that they can really get ahead. It is not the end of everything,” he concluded.