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Stephen Moon: Better Understanding Mental Health

It’s World Mental Health Day. Mental health is more widely talked about now than ever before. But there is a long way to go before we can address this illness openly and without judgement.

I have suffered from depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. I’m in my mid-sixties now, and it remains with me. Along the way, I’ve had a blessed life, and I’ve had what many would regard as a successful business career. I mention business because the stigma of mental illness is problematic for sufferers looking to develop in their chosen profession.

Working for the Science in Sport group and our two brands, PhD Nutrition and Science in Sport, puts me in a great position to deal with my illness. The two most important factors that helped me are talking about my illness to other people and exercising regularly.

Talking Helps

In my early fifties, I disclosed my depression to a senior colleague. For days leading up to the conversation, I was anxious. What if I was told I couldn’t work anymore? What if I was told to pull myself together and ‘man up’. And so on. The conversation was helpful. It was positive; this person supported me every step of the way. My anxiety leading up to the discussion was swept away in seconds. Talking helped.

At Science in Sport, we have a great team who have developed tremendous wellness systems across our business. Physical and mental wellness is genuinely high on the agenda.

Over the last two years, I have had mental health issues like tens of thousands of others. I told all our team the challenges I was facing. It hugely helped me, as the support I have received since then has been humbling.

I wasn’t surprised at the number of people who talked to me about their mental health following that. One in six of us will suffer a mental health issue each year. Therefore, numerous people in my business are dealing with a health challenge. But the more important factor was my disclosure permitted others to speak on their challenges.

As friends, colleagues and leaders, we must become more comfortable with speaking out. Because as well as helping yourself, you also help others who may be silently suffering.

The Gift of Exercise

Working in the active lifestyle and endurance sport business is my second blessing. The people I work with and the many elite athletes, ambassadors and industry figures I have the privilege of knowing all inspire me.

I train in the gym, ride my bike, and do that at least four times a week, and most weeks even more frequently. I cannot remember a workout that didn’t leave me feeling alive, more positive and happier. When my average athlete body has been pushed to the limit, my brain thanks me for the gift of exercise.

Scientific data is overwhelming. Exercise reduces depression and anxiety. We know about the risk reduction of other serious diseases through training. But the positive effect of exercise on mental health is becoming better understood. It helps with milder depression and anxiety, through to more serious illnesses. It helps in the moment, but it also helps as a long-term mental health management tool.

Pause and Reflect This World Mental Health Day

Let’s all take a moment to consider our mental health today. Either you or someone close to you is suffering right now. Let’s talk to each other. Let’s be mindful of how we are all feeling. Let’s be aware of how others close to us may be feeling right now.

Talking is so powerful. If you’re struggling to say what you want to say, you are very welcome to drop a message in my DM, and I will reach out to you.


Written By

Stephen Moon - CEO

Stephen is CEO of Science in Sport plc and has an extensive background in retail, specialising in consumer healthcare. Interestingly, Stephen graduated from INSEAD with a Diploma in Clinical Organisational Psychology in 2010, a qualification which underpins his executive coaching work with senior leaders from global organisations. Stephen spends time outside of work cycling, training at the gym, and asking other athletes around him what nutrition they use and why.