Ted Lasso and the Importance of Mental Health

The show Ted Lasso has risen in popularity over these past few months—with a series of Emmy wins and a promise of a new season to boot. The show has won the hearts of thousands of people—including myself.  

I was skeptical about Ted Lasso in the beginning, I only started watching it just over a month ago. I’ve seen it everywhere, on TV, on social media, even at my own school, and figured I’d give it a try. And in an instant, I was hooked. 

Ted Lasso is about an American football coach who travels to England to coach top-flight English football team, AFC Richmond. Hired by the club’s new manager, Rebecca Welton, Ted Lasso and his fellow coach, simply named Beard, go to England and begin their journey. While labeled as a comedy, Ted Lasso also delves into much deeper topics—leaving home & your family, divorce, isolation, and most of all—allowing yourself to feel and talk through your emotions. 

Ted Lasso stresses the importance of taking care of your mental health, in addition to your physical health. It’s one of the main reasons why I fell in love with this show. Typically, in mainstream media, we don’t see characters attending therapy, talking through their emotions, or even opening up to other people in a casual manner. There always has to be something big that happens, and a big deal is made, which is not often the case in real life. And, even though Ted Lasso is a comedy, the show completely spins this topic on its head and presents it in a beautiful, respectful manner. 

Many characters end up going through something difficult during the second season. Ted, one of the main characters—is dealing with his divorce, coping with his father’s death, and dealing with severe panic attacks. Beard, his assistant coach, is in what is essentially a toxic relationship. Jamie Tartt, one of the players on AFC Richmond is coping with his father’s abuse. Rebecca Welton is dealing with her own divorce throughout the entirety of the show. These are just four characters—everyone is going through something, and the show’s writers genuinely take the time to have these characters try and better themselves. A therapist is brought in during season two, Dr. Sharon Fieldstone—and all the players regularly see her and benefit from therapy. The characters openly talk about their problems with one another, and communicate their emotions with one another. The four coaches of Richmond—Ted, Beard, Nate Shelley, and Roy Kent—specifically have meetings where they share their problems, feelings, and generally just vent—without needing to solve any problems. The show doesn’t joke about these topics, even if it is a comedy. 

I appreciate this a lot. Mental health in sports is something not talked about enough. Whenever we hear about athletes talking about their mental health (Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles, for example), it feels rather taboo, in a sense. Some even bully or make fun of these players for talking about their mental health and taking care of their mental health—even if it is as important as their physical well beings. So many athletes suffer due to the pressure of the public, from their family, even from coaches and teammates. Most don’t have an outlet, due to this stigma around mental health. This is very prominent in men’s sports. Men’s sports are shrouded with hypermasculinity—having to prove to others that you’re a “tough man,” that you don’t feel anything, that you can conquer anything without the help of others. This creates unhealthy environments for the players. 

As Ted Lasso goes on, I hope it continues to highlight mental health in athletics. The writers present the topic in such a respectful way, and it’s important to bring awareness to these topics. It is what has made me love the show, and I am genuinely looking forward to more. 

– Claire C.

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