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#82 Erin Herle

Erin Herle grew up with severe anxiety and depression and it wasn't until she started

Jiu Jitsu while in college, that she became better equipped to deal with the mental health issues that she had been dealing with since childhood. She didn't know why her anxiety and depression were subsiding as she trained until she sought out professional mental health experts. That was when she was able to see the parallels between Jiu Jitsu and Mental Health. Support, community, routine, and setting goals all helped Erin along with the professional help on her way to becoming a world champion.

Erin has stated that starting Jiu Jitsu was the first big decision she made on her own. In 2009 She accompanied a friend to a tournament and began training shortly thereafter. She saw Jiu Jitsu as a way to release her secret inner competitor and now had an outlet for her aggression. The entire time she was training she was transparent about her mental health issues and her willingness to share, allowed others to open up to her about their own struggles.

Erin began her competition career 3 months after she started training and by 2012 she was on the international circuit. Erin was also writing a paper zine called Pulling Guard Zine and then she began working for Gracie Mag and was fully emersed in Jiu Jitsu as an athlete and writer. Then in 2015, her life changed once again.

Erin's father committed suicide and after his death, Erin along with her sister and mother started the nonprofit Submit the Stigma. was developed to bring awareness to mental health issues and suicide prevention.

Erin has now changed her focus to teaching. She is earning her master's degree in Sport and Performance Phycology, teaching private Jiu Jitsu lessons, and giving seminars, all while still dedicating herself to mental health awareness. Erin is using all the tools she has developed over her Jiu Jitsu and mental health journey to give back to the BJJ community that has given her so much.


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