Michael Phelps & Allison Schmitt to Speak at Mental Health Awareness Day

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Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

Olympic gold medalists Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt will speak and serve as honorary chairpersons at a National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day event Thursday night in Washington, according to a report from USA TODAY Sports.

As the report from USA TODAY explains, Phelps and Schmitt each have overcome some mental health struggles over the past several years before they had successful Olympic Games in 2016. Dr. Gary Blau, one of the organizers of the event, explained he wanted to show that it’s normal to struggle with mental issues and that speaking openly about them can help.

“While they speak openly about issues that they’ve had like depression, they also do that by encouraging others, particularly young people, to lead healthy and active lives,” Blau said. “Children and young adults they look up to athletes, especially athletes as amazing as Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt, who have won Olympic medals.”

Phelps’ self-admitted lowest point came when he was arrested for his second DUI in September 2016, after which he spent several weeks in a rehab facility. Phelps is quoted in the article recalling his “darkest days,” “not wanting to talk to anybody, not wanting to see anybody, really not wanting to live.”

Schmitt suffered from depression in the years following her three-gold-medal performance at the 2012 Olympics in London. She struggled in the pool, missing the 2013 World Championships team and 2014 Pan Pacs team, and out of it.

According to the USA TODAY story, Schmitt began seeing a psychologist at the beginning of 2015, and she first publicly admitted to her battle with depression in an interview with the Associated Press in Charlotte in May 2015, which she said was just a week after a cousin, also struggling with depression, had committed suicide.

The event is hosted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) from 7-9 p.m. ET, and a livestream can be found here.

Read more from USA TODAY Sports by clicking here.

5 comments

  1. avatar
    Deb

    Thank you Allison and Michael for speaking out about how to get help with depression and other metal health issues. Mental heath and physical health both need to be treated!
    Keep on keeping on! : )

  2. Sara Elizabeth

    Thank you Michael and Allison for bringing awareness to something so many struggle in silence with!!!

  3. avatar

    I could not refrain rom commenting. Exceptionally well written!

  4. We are all so grateful to the both of you for speaking about a difficult topic – one that needs more attention so more people will get the help they need.