Simone Biles’ focus on mental health sparks renewed energy for people to consider well-being

TULSA, Okla. (KOKI) — All eyes are on the Olympics this summer, as one of the Games most prominent athletes, Simone Biles, decided to take a step back from two competitions to focus on her mental health and well-being.

Biles withdrew from the team competition Tuesday, and the all around competition Thursday.

Mental health experts say this move, is bringing a renewed energy and focus to the importance of taking the time and space to care for your mental health whether you’re in the fiercely competitive athletic realm, or just dealing with every day life.

Terri White, the CEO of the Mental Health Association Oklahoma, says “I think that shows incredible strength especially under that kind of pressure and spotlight. I think it’s a great thing for all of us to learn from that there are times when our mental health may be affecting what we’re doing.”

She says the pressures of the last year with the pandemic has caused a lot of people to struggle with mental health issues.

White says 1 in 4 Oklahomans (about 25%) are going to struggle with mental health issues in their lifetime.

White says there are a number of resources where you can get screened to see if you need professional help or tools to help you cope at home, like stress relief or exercise.

Across Oklahoma, you can dial 2-1-1 to get a full list of mental health resources.

You can also visit www.mhaok.org for free mental health screenings for adults and children.

White says, “Whether you’re a person who feels like you’re an ordinary person or someone who is accomplished and an Olympic athlete like Simone Biles help is available. Mental health issues can be addressed and you can lead a full and productive life.”

She also says saying kind and supportive things, can be very helpful for people who may be afraid to ask for help or admit they’re struggling.