Olympic Athletes Prioritize Mental Health

Olympic Athletes Prioritize Mental Health

07.20.21
Photo: James Matsumoto/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
07.20.21

Several Olympic athletes are opening up about their mental health struggles and how they stay healthy while gearing up for the games in Tokyo. 

Gymnast Simone Biles said she prioritizes her mental health whenever she feels like she needs to.

“For a while, I saw a psychologist once every two weeks,” Biles said, according to Health magazine. “That helped me get in tune with myself so that I felt more comfortable and less anxious.”

Sakura Kokumai, American karateka, says the pandemic has taught her to focus more on mental health. 

“I learned that over this year that I tend to train on my own and figure things out on my own, but I realized the importance of reaching out to people and just talking it through,” she said, according to USA Today. “Realizing it’s OK to ask for help sometimes.”

Normally, 20% of all adults report struggling with some aspect of mental health, but during the pandemic, that has doubled to 40%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For young adults, those ages 18 to 25, the number went from 30% normally, to 78%  with the pandemic. 

Boxer Ginny Fuchs was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in 8th grade, but said the last four years have been “the worst it’s ever been.”

“I have a great support group that has helped me over the years to stay strong and stay focused and overcome my OCD battles every day,” she said, according to USA Today

Noah Lyles, American sprinter, said, according to USA Today, that “mental health is just a part of life. Just like the reason you go to a doctor is to make sure your body is OK, the reason you go to a therapist or you talk to somebody is to make sure that your mind is OK.”