Whilst Simone Biles decision to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics to prioritise her “mental wellness over all else” has drawn praise from many, there are others who have accused her of using mental health as an excuse for a below-standard performance.
Kaleidoscope Chief Executive Monica Shafaq comments: “To the people who are accusing her of not being a team player: in my mind, she could not have been more of a team player. She recognised she was struggling, she knew she wasn’t in the right mental frame of mind to perform so she spoke up and took herself out of the situation, an incredibly brave thing to do at the age of 24 when the eyes of the world are on you.
“At Kaleidoscope we encourage people to speak up. There is still a huge stigma attached to mental health, so when people like Piers Morgan say things like: “It’s not worth it to push yourself through a wobble to win Gold for your younger teammates who’ve never tasted such Olympic glory?” it’s no wonder people are afraid and ashamed to speak out.
“I want to remind people that there is no shame in accessing support and speaking up, the real shame is living sad, lonely and feeling overwhelmed. Together we can end the stigma around mental health by talking about it and sharing our own experiences.
“Remember, it’s OK not to feel OK.”