Apart from winning Simple Session 2020 and releasing videos about her lifestyle, Nikita Ducarroz has also been busy opening up conversations about mental health in our community.
Mind Tricks (@m1ndtricks) is a platform for sharing stories about mental health struggles from BMX / Action Sports riders, some of them very big names, that exists to try and encourage people going through internal struggles themselves. As Nikita explains below, every single story will resonate with someone out there, and it’s all about being open.
Q&A with Nikita Ducarroz
– For those who don’t know, what is Mind Tricks?
Mind Tricks is still in its beginning stages, but at the moment it is an Instagram page (@m1ndtricks) where we share stories written by members of the Action Sports community detailing issues they’ve had with mental health. Whether it be a lifelong struggle, something that came from an injury or traumatic event etc., whatever kind of mental health story it is, it will probably resonate with someone out there reading it.
– Where did the idea come from, why did you want to make a page about mental health in our community?
I started it with my friend who came to me after I did a personal Instagram post. He asked if there were any people in action sports doing something like that. I hadn’t heard of anything so we got to thinking and that’s how it all came about. We figured that there were more athletes out there that had stories, and maybe just needed some encouragement to share them publicly.
– Why do you think it’s important to share stories like this?
I know growing up in my early teens I felt like I was the only one dealing with anxiety and depression. I never understood why me. Once I got a little older and was more comfortable talking about it, it did help a little and I felt less lonely.
“Knowing there are other people out there who are going through what you are going through makes it a little more comforting. And on top of that, it gets people talking”
I just imagine by sharing our stories, all kinds of them, we can help others who might feel the same way. Might feel lonely, misunderstood, helpless. Knowing there are other people out there who are going through what you are going through makes it a little more comforting. And on top of that, it gets people talking.
It becomes more normal, and not something that we are ashamed of. I think that is big as well. We talk about physical injuries no problem, this should be the same.
– What’s the overall message you want to promote?
The main message we want to promote is that it is OK not to be OK, it’s OK to ask for help, and you aren’t the only one. Mental Health is no joke, but it’s also nothing to be ashamed of and there is help out there even when it doesn’t seem like it. Even these top pro riders who people think have perfect lives deal with stuff.
– Do you think it’s becoming more normal for people to open up? Is Mind Tricks pushing that openness in BMX?
I definitely think it is. Looking back to when I was younger and now, whether it’s just because social media is bigger now or some other reason, more people are willing to come forth and talk about their mental struggles. And I think once one person does it, others are more willing. I hope that Mind Tricks is pushing that openness in BMX. That is the goal at least! All we can do is keep sharing stories and see where it takes us.
“We talk about physical injuries no problem, this should be the same”
– How have your experiences enabled you to connect with other people on this?
Massively. Growing up was pretty crazy for my parents dealing with a kid who basically wouldn’t leave the house. Now, other parents call them when they are experiencing similar things with their kids to ask for advice.
I feel like being older and understanding my mind and body more, I also am in a position to give advice from my own experiences. It’s insane how many people deal with mental health stuff and we never know it because we afraid to talk about it.
– Which are your favourite messages you’ve published so far?
I don’t think I have a favourite. Everyone has shared something so different I feel like they can reach someone out there. From Ryan Nyquist who talks about superstitions he had for contests, to Hannah Roberts talking about dealing with some depression, and every story in between. They all mean something. We are still building the page so I definitely encourage riders to take a look at each one as they are all very different.
– How often do you have people come forward with stories?
There were definitely more at the start as I was really putting an effort in to reach out to people. I think there are a lot out there but we just need to reach them and let them know the page is here. With the contest season picking up now I’ve had less time to devote to it, but still try to get new stories to post when I can. As always we have our submission link in our bio that is open to anyone to submit their stories.
– What’s the long term goal of Mind Tricks?
I don’t really know the end goal. What I like about it is that it could become anything. A podcast, video series, clothing company, develop into more mental health outreach… The opportunities are endless and at this point with my own busy schedule the plan is just to let it happen as we go and see where it takes us.
The ultimate goal like I said before is just to normalise talking about mental health, and show people it’s OK to not be OK.
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