Mental Health Takes Top Spot At The Olympics
How many times have we heard "no excuses, just get it done".
It's been that way for athletes for decades they were told to "toughen up and focus on the task at hand: winning. Dominating. Getting it done."
For years, Simone Biles did just that. Suddenly she decided she wasn’t in the right headspace according to a recent report on NEWS 4 (WIVB-TV).
She put on her white sweatsuit in the middle of Tuesday night’s Olympic gymnastics meet, and by doing it Biles might have redefined the mental health discussion that’s been on the minds of athletes for the past year.
Biles assessed the situation and realized it would not be healthy to keep going and pulled out of the competition to focus on her emotional well-being.
“I have to do what’s right for me and focus on my mental health, and not jeopardize my health and well-being,” a tearful Biles said after the Americans won the silver medal in team competition. She said she recognized she was not in the right headspace hours before the competition began.
“It was like fighting all those demons,” she said.
The International Olympic Committee did make the effort to increase its mental health resources ahead of the Tokyo Games. Mental health professionals are onsite in the Olympic village and there is now a “Mentally Fit Helpline” available before, during, and for three months after the Games.
The hotline is a free service that offers 24 hour clinical support, short-term counseling, support and, if needed, guidance to the appropriate IOC officials to report to in the case of harassment and/or abuse.
“Are we doing enough? I hope so. I think so,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said Wednesday. “But like everyone in the world, we are doing more on this issue.”
Thriveworks, a counseling, psychology, and psychiatry service, which has an office here in Buffalo, found that one in three elite athletes suffer from anxiety and depression.
“Female athletes have to manage a different level of expectations from themselves, coaches, other athletes, media, and fans ranging from their physical appearance to their performance,” Plourde said.
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Gallery Credit: Peter Richman