Usually when you see decorated Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, it’s generally in replays of Herculean feats in the pool, or atop the podium as a glinting medal is laid around his neck.
It’s after each Games, though, that Phelps sinks. The euphoria of being a world championship swimmer is gone; a person lost in the fog of depression remains.
“I questioned whether I wanted to be alive anymore,” he said in a video on his Twitter page.
Phelps took a break from his mostly swim-centric Twitter feed to announce his partnership with Talkspace, an online therapy company, citing his own periods of depression.
If you’re an avid listener of podcasts, chances are you’ve heard of Talkspace. A public endorsement for this, or any kind of mental health help from an athlete of Phelps’ prominence is significant.
Phelps has spoken about his mental health in the past, where he acknowledged the stigma surrounding athletes who acknowledge needing help.
“I think people actually finally understand it is real. People are talking about it and I think this is the only way that it can change,” he said to CNN in January.
Phelps isn’t the only athlete with Maryland ties openly discussing mental health in the past week. Former Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. posted a column on NFL.com last Tuesday to discuss his own career-long struggles with depression. At the tail of his piece, he also urged anyone dealing with mental illness to seek out therapy as well.