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Michael Phelps revealed that he had at least three or four major depression spells and said, “I straight wanted to die”. On David Axelrod’s “The Axe File” podcast”, he claimed “the USOC, in my opinion, hasn’t done anything to help us transition after an Olympics. I think it’s sad. I think it’s unfortunate. It’s something that we’re working towards now.”
By speaking out about his battles with mental health, Michael, one of the most decorated Olympian in history, hopes the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) will do more to help athletes. And, he is not alone. A host of current and former athletes have recently brought mental health issues to national attention in hopes of removing the stigma of depression and suicidal impulses. Olympic swimmers, Missy Franklin and Allison Schmitt, and NBA stars, Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan, have opened up about their mental health struggles. Franklin was inspired to speak out by Schmitt and Phelps and told CNN, “I feel so fortunate because I had so many incredible athletes pave the way for me” — mentioning the two swimmers by name. “Both really openly talk of their depression and what they went through. I just think we need so much more of that.”
Alpine skier, Mikaela Shiffrin, told The Washington Post, “…the hardest thing about the Olympics is the incredible emotional valley you feel after it. What is my life meant for, now that the Olympics is over. That’s kind of what it feels like.” Olympic athletes have long talked about the difficulty of coming down off their competitive highs.
Through his Michael Phelps Foundation, Michael hopes to promote swimming, as well as raising awareness about physical and mental health. He said, “every day somebody is going to have ups and downs and if we can continue to help people get out and talk about things and open up, for me that was something that completely changed my life and I was able to see a much cleaner, happier, healthier way of living. If I can honestly save a life or save two lives that’s all I want. For me, that’s way bigger than ever winning a gold metal.”
Visit The Washington Post to read the complete March 28, 2018 article.
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