Keeping the mind in check: Fardaws Aimaq on sustaining mental health

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Being in a constant spotlight is no easy task. For the 2021 WAC Player of the Year and Kareem Abdul Jabar watchlist nominee, the spotlight could not shine brighter. Fardaws Aimaq is arguably the biggest prospect to come through the Wolverines’ men’s basketball program since Ronnie Price in 2002. The center led the NCAA in rebounding in 2020-21 with 15 boards per game, the most from any player since the 1985-86 season. Coming into the 2021-22 season, Aimaq and the Wolverines look poised to make a run for an NCAA tournament bid. Shouldering lofty expectations for himself and his team, the junior from Vancouver, British Columbia says that maintaining his mental health is very important to him.

“For me, it’s something I take very serious. I work hard on my mental health and try and control things I can revolving around my mental health,” Aimaq told The UVU Review. “I meditate, having certain breathing exercises and remove any negative things immediately when I feel stressed or anxious.”

For Aimaq, maintaining mental health is part of a daily routine. It is something that has to be sustained each and every day.  

The NCAA offers a multitude of resources to athletes such as Aimaq aiming to aid with players’ mental health. In the NCAA mental health and education resources, you can find supplemental material regarding mental health and illness as well as videos and educational modules helping destigmatize mental illness with athletes. The goal of this material is to educate and get the conversation started about getting help with mental health. Click here to learn more information.

If you are a student who is experiencing depression, anxiety and need help with mental health, reach out to UVU Mental Health Services. They offer individual, couples and group therapy as well as resources that are available to all students.

As for Aimaq, he offers a message of advice for anyone that may be struggling with mental health or experiencing depression and anxiety.

“I think the biggest thing I’d say to always remember is that it’s normal to feel sad and have feelings of anxiety because at the end of the day everyone goes through it. It’s about managing and coping and figuring out how to stay positive when you’re hit with the wave of negativity.”