Going For The (Mental Health) Gold

Going For The (Mental Health) Gold

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The 2024 Paris Olympics offers an international forum for mental health wellness among elite athletes 

HOUSTON, TX. July 2024 

The road to the Olympics is paved with good intentions. For every glorious moment on the medal podium there are even more episodes of feeling failure, disappointment and loss of prestige and self-esteem.

It’s no wonder that ahead of the 2024 Summer Games in Paris, U.S. Olympians are prioritizing mental health. Taking care of the mind as well as the bodies of the elite athletes has become an accepted conversation as the sports world has embraced mental health wellness. 

The public is now familiar with the struggles of one of the world’s greatest gymnast Simone Biles (who pulled out of individual all-around competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, citing mental health concerns) and swimming phenom Michael Phelps (who cited “post-Olympic depression” after winning six gold medals at the 2004 Athens Games). Those two sports celebrity voices have been amplified by other Olympians – including champion sprinter Noah Lyles, “the world’s fastest man” competing in Paris – as important advocates for mental health awareness. 

“Mental health is a major priority as the world’s best athletes head to Paris,” said Dr. James Flowers, founder and president of the J. Flowers Health Institute. “Athletes who are vocal about their struggles are doing a great deal to educate the public that it’s OK to seek mental health treatment. There is no stigma attached to prioritizing mental wellbeing.”

Olympic athletes – and the full spectrum of professional athletes, for that matter – face intense public pressure and stress that can lead to depression, anxiety and self-esteem issues. While their quests for excellence play out against an international audience, their biggest hurdles often come from within. 

“They are sometimes entirely in their own heads,” Dr. Flowers said. 

He’s well familiar with the particular challenges of elite athletes. 

“We often work with the most successful and highest-paid athletes in the world,” Dr. Flowers said. “The bottom line is they’re people just like us. They may be famous but they’re also a mother, father, sister and brother.” 

Seeing a person as an individual who can benefit from a complete body/mind/spirit diagnostic evaluation – a hallmark of J. Flowers treatment – is important, elite athlete or not

Flowers said recognition that mental wellness is as important as physical health is important as all eyes focus on the Olympic Games. It’s a truism now fully embraced by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee that formed a mental health task force ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to provide counselors and mental health resources to assist athletes before, during and after the Games. 

And while that is an important (and long time coming) step, the attention that superstar athletes can bring to the conversation of mental health issues is critical. 

“The attention they bring is invaluable,” he said. “There is a significant public benefit when these athletes stand up and say they’re seeking help.” 

About J. Flowers Health Institute

J. Flowers Health Institute delivers unparalleled bespoke health care to executives, high-profile individuals, young adults, adolescents, and those with complex conditions. Our Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation Program uncovers the true source of any health issue and illuminates the most effective path to optimal wellness. The timeliness of our reports and diagnostic impressions allows the next appropriate level of care to begin promptly with a broad and deep understanding of the individual’s health and wellness.

 

Our multidisciplinary team of experts collaborates to deliver the future of whole-person health. We select the best providers and protocols from Western medicine, holistic health, integrative nutrition, sports medicine, and more that will help our clients reach optimal health. Our team’s coordination and collaboration offer each client a full continuum of bespoke care as appropriate for their unique circumstances.

 

Every client receives one-on-one support and personalized care. Our high-end medical facilities, access to the world’s largest medical campus, and private partnerships with exquisite hotels and spas ensure that we deliver an exceptional experience for every client. No detail is ever left to chance. Clients of J. Flowers Health Institute focus and heal in discreet comfort.