Being an Olympian involves intense physical strain and public pressure – so how does that affect mental health? For some athletes, mental illness can present a major problem both during the season and after they eventually retire from competition. To help address mental health concerns, the U.S. Olympic team employs sports psychologists to help the athletes talk about depression and anxiety they can face during competition.
Allison Schmitt, an Olympic gold medalist in swimming who is currently competing at the games in Rio, recently shared about her struggle with depression.
“I didn’t really understand it. I came back from the most successful summer I’ve had. Everything had always seemed to go my way. So I was like, well, I’ve had great friends, great family. I’ve had success in the sport that I wanted. I went back to school, finished my degree. I was like, what could possibly be wrong with me? I know I was grateful for all those times but at the same time, I wasn’t happy. But I couldn’t really understand why I was unhappy. Why would I be depressed? I have no reason to be depressed,” Schmitt said. “I felt like I was alone. You just don’t want to talk about it with someone else.”
Read more about Allison’s story and the struggles many Olympians face in the Huffington Post.