Sports psychologist Dr. Joel Fish says real teammates have difficult conversations

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Renowned sports psychologist Dr. Joel Fish hears a lot of teams say they’re family. 

But Fish says family is about a lot more than dancing after a touchdown or high-fiving after a basket. 

Everyone deals with anxiety and stress — he calls them “normal emotions” — but Fish stressed that when folks in a locker room see that stress or anxiety lead to unhealthy behaviors in someone, it’s up to their teammates to try to help. 

“Real teamwork, real friendship, real family, is learning how to have a difficult conversation with somebody else,” Fish said. “‘I’m concerned about you and here’s why …’”

Fish explains that there are healthy ways to deal with those emotions and unhealthy ways. Sometimes when a person is engaging in unhealthy behavior, they’re blind to it. It can sometimes take a teammate to shine a light on them.

NBC Sports Regional Networks has launched a multi-platform campaign on mental health and men's health, HeadStrong: Mental Health and Sports, for the month of November. You can find more information about the initiative here

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