How the Tokyo Olympics Changed the Conversation About Athletes ’ Mental Health

Even before Simone Biles threw the Olympics off its axis, Jessica Bartley knew mental health issues were weighing heavily on the athletes in Tokyo. Bartley, a psychologist and the director of mental health services for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, says her team received about 10 requests daily during the Games to support athletes’ mental health needs. Most of the calls did not come directly from athletes, but from “a tip from someone around the athlete, who alerted us to a situation,” she says. These requests involved everything from struggles while in quarantine due to COVID-19 protocols, to receiving unexpected news from back home, to not performing as anticipated at the Games. Of the requests that Bartley’s mental health team received, there were a handful of cases that indicated a potentially more serious issue, so Bartley or a member of her team immediately called the athlete and inquired about their mental state to determine if they needed additional mental health support, and to ensure they were in touch with their regular support team from home if they had one. If they didn’t have one, Bartley was ready to connect them with resources to help. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “The Games are really an incredible opportunity to start to have those conversations,” says Bartley, whose group is the first to travel with Team USA specifically to support the mental well-being of athletes. The Tokyo Olympics, t...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized olympics Tokyo Olympics Source Type: news

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