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Untold Tales: Marcus Smith II’s Psychological Well being Playbook and Advocacy Journal


Erick McNair


Marcus Smith II’s story is one in all resilience, transformation, and advocacy. From his early days as a highschool soccer star in Georgia to his skilled profession within the NFL, Marcus achieved exceptional success on the sphere. Nonetheless, behind the accolades and victories, he confronted profound psychological well being challenges that threatened his life. At present, Marcus is leveraging his platform to champion psychological well being consciousness and assist, significantly amongst athletes. In honor of Psychological Well being Consciousness Month, this text delves into Marcus’s journey and his work as a International Model Ambassador with mind-body well being firm, All Factors North (APN).

Early Life and Soccer Profession

Marcus’s Story: The Street to the NFL

Marcus’s journey started in Georgia, the place he excelled in highschool soccer. He performed quarterback at Hardaway Excessive Faculty, passing for greater than 1,800 yards and 14 touchdowns, whereas additionally dashing for 227 yards and 4 touchdowns. As a senior, he was chosen to the 2009 AAAA All-Area Second-team. Regardless of his success as a quarterback, Marcus transitioned to a defensive place in faculty on the College of Louisville—a change that required immense psychological power and adaptableness. Regardless of the challenges, he thrived in his new function, incomes accolades such because the ACC Defensive Participant of the 12 months in 2013 and a third-team All-American decide. Regardless of his success, Marcus struggled with nervousness and melancholy, which adopted him all through his profession.

Skilled Soccer Profession 

Marcus entered the 2014 NFL Draft with excessive expectations following a stellar faculty profession. He was chosen within the first spherical, twenty sixth general, by the Philadelphia Eagles, a range that was a testomony to his distinctive expertise and potential as a linebacker. Over the course of his skilled profession, he performed for a number of groups, together with the Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, and Washington Soccer Staff. 

Struggles with Psychological Well being – Private Challenges and Turning Factors

Regardless of the outward success and accolade that got here with being a first-round decide, Marcus confronted profound private challenges. The pressures {of professional} sports activities, mixed with private points, led to a interval of deep melancholy. In a candid revelation, Smith shared his battle with suicidal ideas, highlighting the customarily unseen psychological well being struggles that athletes can face. “I by no means had anybody to really discuss to about what I used to be going to take care of as a professional. I used to be coping with nervousness and melancholy for a very long time earlier than I knew what it truly was,” Marcus revealed.

Because of the assist of his spouse and mom, he sought assist and entered remedy at APN Lodge. There, Marcus discovered to deal with the basis causes of his melancholy and nervousness, gaining the instruments mandatory for his restoration. “One of many issues I discovered was constructive self-talk and respiration workouts after which additionally meditation… I needed to observe these issues I discovered and continued remedy. This isn’t one thing that’s going to go away; it’s a journey and one thing it’s important to face and proceed to overcome day by day,” Marcus shared. This era marked a big turning level in his life, as he sought assist and commenced his journey towards psychological well being restoration.

Marcus Finds His Advocacy with APN

As APN’s International Ambassador, Marcus Smith II makes use of his platform to encourage others to prioritize their psychological well being. An previous teammate launched Marcus to APN, resulting in a life-changing expertise. “An previous teammate informed me about APN, and I used to be simply blown away when he informed me, that’s what I want I want one thing like that and I had a possibility to return out right here for 30 days. It was exhausting leaving my youngsters, however I wished to heal.”

Marcus Smith II’s advocacy is deeply related to All Factors North’s progressive method to psychological well being remedy. At APN Lodge, he benefited from a spread of therapies and modalities designed to deal with the distinctive wants of athletes and others battling psychological well being points. 

These included customized particular person remedy classes in addition to group remedy, which supplied a supportive surroundings for Marcus and different people to share their experiences and construct a way of group. Marcus highlighted, “Once I stepped in and I noticed different folks having conversations and speaking about among the similar stuff I’m coping with, I’m like I can’t be quiet anymore, I gotta get this off of me.”

{Couples} remedy additionally helped Marcus open up extra to his spouse, enhancing their communication and strengthening their relationship. “I used to inform my spouse I don’t know what that is, however I don’t need to take care of this ache anymore,” he confessed. These therapies gave Marcus a holistic method to therapeutic and enabled him to discover ways to talk his innermost ideas with the folks closest to him and even strangers going via their very own therapeutic journeys.

Selling Various Approaches to Drugs – A New Strategy to Athlete Well being

In recent times, the difficulty of opioid habit has turn out to be a big concern, particularly amongst skilled athletes who had been usually prescribed these drugs for ache administration. In response to a 2020 examine, 52% of NFL gamers use opioids throughout their careers, and 71% of these gamers misuse them. That is thrice the speed of opioid use within the basic inhabitants. A 2020 College of Florida examine discovered that half of former NFL gamers who used opioids early in retirement had been nonetheless utilizing them 9 years later. Opioid habit has been linked to quite a few unfavourable outcomes, together with exacerbated psychological well being points and irregular habits.

All Factors North presents another method to managing each bodily and psychological well being, specializing in non-addictive remedies and therapies. By serving as a world ambassador for All Factors North, Marcus Smith II is championing this new mind-set about well being. He advocates for remedies that handle the basis causes of ache and psychological well being challenges with out the dangers related to opioid use. This method not solely helps in managing bodily ache but additionally helps general psychological well-being, aligning with a extra holistic and sustainable mannequin of athlete well being care.

Marcus’s function as an advocate for psychological well being and his work with APN highlights the necessity for complete and holistic well being care options. His efforts align with EVERFI’s academic module on Black contributions in drugs, emphasizing the significance of getting a various method to well being care. By selling psychological well being consciousness and supporting progressive remedy strategies, Marcus contributes to a broader understanding of wellness that features each psychological and bodily well being.

Psychological Well being as a Pillar of Social Justice

Addressing psychological well being challenges is intrinsically linked to social justice. Psychological well being disparities usually disproportionately have an effect on marginalized communities, together with African People {and professional} athletes who might face distinctive stressors and stigmas. Traditionally, psychological well being has been a taboo topic, significantly throughout the Black group and amongst athletes. Marcus’s openness about his struggles and his advocacy work assist to normalize these conversations, making it simpler for others to hunt assist with out concern of judgment.

By selling psychological well being consciousness and schooling, Marcus’s work aligns with the broader objectives of the NFL’s Encourage Change initiative, which goals to empower communities via schooling, financial development, and improved group relations. Psychological well being is a foundational side of those objectives, because it permits people to thrive, contribute to their communities, and construct stronger, more healthy relationships.

Conclusion and Name to Motion

Sharing Marcus’s Story

Marcus Smith II’s journey from skilled athlete to psychological well being advocate highlights the transformative energy of searching for assist and elevating consciousness. His work with All Factors North is making a big affect, encouraging others to prioritize their psychological well being and break the stigma surrounding psychological well being points. Lecturers can play a vital function on this motion by sharing Marcus’s story with their college students. Using EVERFI’s 306: Persevering with the Story module, educators can encourage college students to acknowledge the significance of range in healthcare and perceive that Black contributions to drugs are ongoing and impactful.

Inspiring the Subsequent Era

By incorporating Marcus’s story into their curriculum, academics may help college students admire the very important function of psychological well being in general well-being and the importance of various voices in healthcare. This academic method not solely honors previous contributions but additionally empowers college students to be a part of a extra inclusive and compassionate future in drugs.



All Factors North. (n.d.). Marcus Smith II: International ambassador. All Factors North. https://apn.com/marcus-smith-ii/

APN. (2022, October 20). Discovering identification exterior of soccer and melancholy: Restoration x Marcus Smith II [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sW0f1yF0sG0

Bell, G. (2017, October 4). Smith getting second probability on Seahawks line of defense. Kitsap Solar. https://www.kitsapsun.com/story/sports activities/nfl/seahawks/2017/10/04/smith-getting-second-chance-seahawks-defensive-line/731765001/

Domowitch, P. (2020, October 15). Former Eagles first-round decide Marcus Smith II opens up about his struggles with melancholy. The Philadelphia Inquirer. https://www.inquirer.com/newsletters/eagles/philadelphia-eagles-newsletter-marcus-smith-depression-nfl-20201015.html

Smith, M. (2020, October 14). I’m Nonetheless Right here. The Gamers Tribune https://www.theplayerstribune.com/posts/marcus-smith-nfl-mental-health

Stuart, A. (2018, March 20). Former Hardaway star Marcus Smith dwelling dream with NFL’s Seahawks. Ledger-Enquirer. https://www.ledger-enquirer.com/sports activities/high-school/article205972764.html

Superville, D. R. (2021, November 14). NFL gamers work to interrupt down psychological well being stigma. AP Information. https://apnews.com/article/nfl-mental-health-stigma-2053303f3f97fdee7f0923c63202165c

Wamsley, L. (2022, January 18). Marcus Smith II, former Eagles linebacker, transforms psychological well being struggles. WHYY. https://whyy.org/articles/marcus-smith-ii-former-eagles-linebacker-transforms-mental-health-struggles/


In regards to the Creator: 

Erick, a Senior Supervisor on the Buyer Advertising workforce at EVERFI, holds a grasp’s diploma in Sports activities Administration from Georgetown College. With over a decade of expertise within the sports activities and media sector, Erick has cultivated a deep-seated ardour for making a significant distinction in marginalized or underrepresented communities. Earlier than becoming a member of EVERFI, Erick labored for Occasions DC, Washington, DC’s Sports activities & Conference Authority. He now helps EVERFI’s sports activities partnerships workforce, spearheading advertising and occasion initiatives that have interaction college students round important matters together with character schooling, psychological wellness, and STEM. 

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