National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day: Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt to support mental health campaign for youth

Michael Phelps, a decorated U.S. Olympic champion, and Allison Schmitt, an eight–time Olympic medalist, will serve as the Honorary Chairpersons of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA), National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day (NCMHAD) event. The event is scheduled to be held on May 4, 2017, Thursday, at the Jack Morton Auditorium, in the George Washington University.

Phelps and Schmitt will talk about their struggles with mental health disorders. They are designated to receive SAMHSA Special Recognition Award for being open about their challenges and working towards supporting the youth and young adults with comparable experiences. Phelps has been promoting fit, active and dynamic lifestyles for children through his Michael Phelps Foundation. Schmitt has also been outspoken about her struggles with mental health and the journey thereof at various foundations and mental health organizations across the country to help youth and young adults dealing with similar challenges.

The 2017 theme of the NCMHAD event is “Partnering for Help and Hope” and it aims to spread awareness about the importance of assimilating behavioral health and primary care for children, youth and young adults with mental and/or substance use disorders.

Link between children’s physical and behavioral health

Kana Enomoto, acting deputy assistant secretary has supported the idea of Phelps and Schmitt speaking on the day, “Children and young adults often look to athletes as role models for leading healthy lives. By speaking about treatment and recovery, Michael and Allison are helping youth view behavioral health as an important part of their overall health.”

Featuring interactive panel discussions to comprehend the relationship between physical and behavioral health; supporting the mental health needs of youth affected by chronic illnesses; and strengthening communication between primary care providers, behavioral health providers, the youth and their families, the event allows for national participation of families and youths who can pose their questions to panelists through email and social media using the hashtag #HeroesofHope.

Phelps and Schmitt’s successful recovery from mental illness

As a child, Phelps had a tough time living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). He was diagnosed with it at the age of nine when he found concentrating at school difficult. However, he could successfully recover from the condition with prescription medications. His mother also discloses that swimming really helped Phelps cope with his ADHD.

On the other hand, Schmitt faced difficulties due to depression. Every time she dove into the pool, she felt as if she had failed in the sport she loved. After facing such a situation numerous times, she started seeing a psychologist in early 2015. However, it did not help her much. It was around this time that Phelps, who is Schmitt’s teammate and longtime friend, offered to help, extending his support to Schmitt. What eventually helped her recover and bring home the medal was her determination along with the support of friends, family and her coach Bob Bowman.

Mental illness can be overcome

Mental illness is not the end of one’s life. One can seek help from an experienced mental health professional, therapist or counselor who can help one recover from the condition and begin leading a healthy life.

If you know someone who is dealing with any form of mental illness, the 247 Mental Health Helpline can assist you. Contact our 24/7 helpline number 855-653-8178 to get access to the best mental health facilities available in your vicinity. You may also chat online with our mental health experts who can help you connect with mental health rehabilitation centers across the U.S.