Athletes who have talked about mental health struggles

Innovator Allison Schmitt, four-time Olympic gold medalist, said Michael Phelps encouraged her to talk about her mental health.

Allison Schmitt at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Clive Rose / Getty Images

“I’ve been diagnosed with depression and here I am, I’m happy, you can never tell from the outside that I’m depressed,” he said in a 2018 interview with USA Swimming. “I think it’s something you’ll live with forever.”

“The misconception people have is,‘ If you feel this way, why don’t you do this, this and that so you don’t feel this way? I understand, I don’t want to feel that way, I don’t like being around me when I’m like that, but I don’t know how to change, ”he continued.

Schmitt talked about how going to see a psychologist and asking for help was crucial to living with her depression. She also recounted a time when Olympic champion Michael Phelps approached her to say he didn’t act like her and if he could do anything to help.

“It was the first time he showed …‘ negative emotion, ’” he said. “I cried for the next two hours and talked to Michael, my coach Bob, and my coach Keenan.”

“Since then, what my psychologist has done has helped me find ways to deal with it, ways to recognize when I need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and let go of something,” she said. “Three years after looking for help for the first time, I can be myself … I keep pushing. I know it’s painful, but I keep pushing.”

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