Simone Biles Controversy Creating Global Conversation on Importance of Prioritizing Mental Health

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 6:42 AM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -American gymnastics superstar, Simone Biles, withdrew from the Olympic all-around competition to focus on her mental well-being. The decision comes a day after Biles removed herself from the team final because she felt she wasn’t mentally ready. As Shawn Cunningham reports, this puts the issue of mental health in the global spotlight.

Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles is taking a step back. Deciding not to compete in the Team USA Gymnastics group final this week, and now withdrawing from the individual all around event that would have allowed her to defend her 2016 Olympic title. Biles opting instead for another title one in her own words that means much more in the long run...MENTALLY SOUND.

Simone Biles Gymnastics Olympic Gold Medalist

“I just felt like it would be a little bit better to take a back seat and work on my mindfulness. I knew that the girls would do an absolutely great job and I didn’t want to risk the teak a medal for my screw ups because they worked way too hard for that.”

Christine Brown AMHC Practitioner

“my first thought was wow, you are one tough strong courageous person the courage to be able to on the world stage let people know you know what taking care of myself my immediate needs is what is priority..”

Shawn Cunningham NO STANDUP

Biles focus on mental health follows another superstar athlete in the spotlight tennis great Naomi Osaka. When the four-time Grand Slam champion said she wouldn’t take part in required press conferences due to concerns over her mental health, officials responded by fining her $15,000 and threatening to expel her from the tournament. The 23 year old then pulled out of the French Open entirely, revealing in a statement that her decision not to talk to reporters was due to struggles with depression she has experienced in recent years. These two incidents have put the prioritization of mental health over high stress responsibilities in the spotlight...and have also sparked important conversations Mental health practitioners say on one hand its a teachable moment to say to the world and social culture “its okay to say you’re not okay..”

Christine Brown Practitioner, AMHC (cover some with pictures)

“that there’s pressures expectations my sense is that this did not happen overnight that this was something that was probably building for her but she took that step to make a decision to stop and to attend to what she needs.”

On the other hand, she says getting public rebukes for that decision can keep many people from seeking the help they need....

“demonizing is ignorance demonizing it might be someone on the fence or in denial about their own difficulties

Practitioners say its important society surrounds people who are in crisis by providing a public support system recognizing the strength it takes to sometimes TAKE A STEP BACK.

“she was able to say yes this is what I do but but this is also who I am and its her beingness its her wellness its the bigger picture of her life”

Shawn Cunningham, NS 8.

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