Mental health, a subject that was once taboo, is at the forefront of public discourse. Athletes Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka have garnered global attention for their decisions to prioritize their mental health in their respective sports.
What was once looked upon as weakness has been bolstered as courageous and has led to important dialogue in other spaces. Even singer Iggy Azalea suggested on Twitter that record labels should have in-house therapists for their artists.
How can we as a society expect elite performances from athletes and entertainers and not also make sure their minds are in good condition?
These athletes have now changed the way other athletes behind them will approach the game. Only few understand the pressure of having the entire world watch and judge their performance, with every high and low documented for eternity. These ladies are taking a holistic approach to their sports. An athlete with an unhealthy mind can be just as disadvantaged as an athlete with an unhealthy body.
Calm, a meditation and sleep app, has displayed solidarity with Naomi Osaka by volunteering to pay all fines associated with skipping press conferences. This is a huge step forward because in the midst of her struggles, she no longer has to answer major questions without time to process her emotions.
In the future, hopefully these conversations regarding public figures will trickle down to companies who also realize how important it is for us all to be mentally sharp. When proper care is taken, we can all perform at our best whether we’re an entertainer or a regular civilian.