Michael Phelps Takes His Mental Health Advocacy To The Next Level

By Victoria Kim 05/25/18

 “I feel like with all the issues we have in this world, this is something where I can truly make significant impact.”

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps has partnered with mobile therapy service Talkspace, in keeping with his mission to lessen the stigma of addressing one’s own mental health issues.

Since retiring in 2016, Phelps has committed himself to promoting mental wellness and the importance of seeking help.

“Somebody told me yesterday about his daughter going through a very, very deep depression and not really wanting to be alive. She read stories about me opening up. He told me how much that helped her,” he said in a recent interview. “For me, that’s way bigger than ever winning gold medals. The chance to potentially save a life, to give that person an opportunity to grow and learn and help someone else, there’s nothing better in life.”

Phelps is partnering with Talkspace, a subscription-based mobile app that offers therapy through any mobile device or computer.

The former Olympian hopes that through his affiliation with the service, he’ll encourage others to seek the help they may need. “I feel like with all the issues we have in this world, this is something where I can truly make significant impact,” he said.

Despite being the most decorated Olympian of all time, with 28 medals—23 of them gold—Phelps has had to fight his own battles with depression, suicidal thoughts, and problem drinking.

But since then, he’s in a much better place.

Last June, it was reported that he aligned himself with Medibio, joining the board of directors of the Australian medical technology company to promote a new comprehensive test to help accurately diagnose depression and other mental health issues.

The swimmer said that the technology “can help make a profound impact in diagnosing mental health and empowering people to seek the help and support they may need.”

He also appeared in the documentary Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety. “The conversation surrounding mental health really hits home for me. Many people don’t understand how debilitating mental illness truly can be, and even more than that, how common it is, yet people are afraid to have the serious discussions about it,” he said in a press release for the film last September.

Though he’s following his calling and living the life of a happy family man, he said that his mental health is still a work in progress.

“I still go through times that are very challenging. I do break down and maybe have a bad day, when I’m not in a good mental state,” he said recently. “I understand that. It’s who I am. I guess that will always be something that’s a part of me.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr