As a four-time Olympian and a 10-time Olympic medalist, Allison Schmitt is one of the most decorated American athletes of all time. But in recent years, she is focusing just as much on her mental health as her physical.
Speaking on stage at the Sports and Active Nutrition Summit in San Diego, Schmitt explained that she began experiencing problems with mental health around 2012.
“I had so much to be grateful for, yet I was depressed and I felt like speaking about mental health was complaining, so I internalized it," Schmitt recalled.
While statistics show that one in four people will experience a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year, the stigma surrounding mental health is still a barrier for getting help.
But after Schmitt’s 17-year-old cousin April took her own life in 2015, she decided to seek help and speak out.
“I'm very grateful that I am still on Earth, able to spread her story and spread awareness on the importance of mental illness and mental health,” said Schmitt.
Schmitt’s appearance included answering several questions from the audience and sharing advice along with a few hugs.
“No one is broken, we're not trying to fix anything. We just want to be heard and understood,” said Schmitt. “So just being able to listen and understand someone else's journey and stand next to them.”