Biles has become a champion of mental health.
Simone Biles has 32 Olympic and World Championship medals and has also become a champion of mental health. Biles has just announced a partnership with Cerebral, a new mental health subscription platform, as Chief Impact Officer and the face of the wellness service app.
Studies show that over 50% of people with mental health issues in the US don’t receive the care they need, a statistic that Biles and Cerebral hope to fix.
In an interview with NBC’s Today, Biles announced her Cerebral partnership and, at times, fought back tears as she described her anxiety around performing some gymnastic moves. She mentioned that she still suffers from “the Twisties,” and shared that her upcoming Gold Over America Tour includes only floor exercises. Biles said that she wouldn’t be performing any mid-air twisting in the tour, to her dismay.
“To do something that I’ve done forever and just not be able to do it because of everything I’ve gone through is really crazy because I love this sport so much,” Biles shared.
“The Twisties,” a psychological concern that gymnasts primarily experience, led to her decision to withdraw from the team final in the recent Olympics. The unique condition is dangerously disorientating to gymnasts during mid-air moves. Biles noted that her safety was at risk, as well as a team medal. While some in the media criticized her decision, Biles had an outpouring of support from fellow gymnasts and fans. By publicly sharing her experience, Biles put a much-needed spotlight on the importance of maintaining positive mental health, particularly in sports.
“It’s hard. I’m sorry. And I don’t think people understand the magnitude of what I go through, but for so many years to go through everything that I’ve gone through having a front, I’m proud of myself,” Biles told Today.
Biles has had a long and public history with mental health and her personal experiences. Biles has openly discussed her struggles with anxiety and ADHD and came forward as a sexual assault survivor of Dr. Larry Nassar. She testified in 2021 at the Senate Judiciary Committee, stating that the USA Gymnastics organization and the Olympic and Paralympic Committee failed in their obligations.
Her partnership with Cerebral will push the importance of mental health and wellness to the forefront. For a monthly fee, Cerebral provides comprehensive mental health care with licensed experts and medication management. After filling out a brief intake form, members can select one to three different plans based on their individual needs. Cerebral offers a Medication and Care Counseling plan, a Medication and Therapy plan (which includes weekly therapy), and a therapy plan that doesn’t include medication fulfillment.
As one of the most decorated Olympic medalists of all time, Biles says that she is now putting her mental health first and sees a therapist every week. When asked if she would have done anything differently, Biles said, “I wouldn’t change anything for the world. I think everything happens for a reason.”
Biles is not alone as an Olympian with mental health struggles and on a mission to help others. Former competitive swimmer Michael Phelps, a 28 medal holder, also publicly revealed his struggles with depression and ADHD in 2018. Phelps had divulged that he contemplated suicide after the 2012 Olympics. He then announced a partnership with the teletherapy service Talkspace.
Cerebral will be listed as an official sponsor for Biles’s Gold Over America Tour and the 2022 Biles Invitational. The mental health platform will give half a million dollars in mental health services to communities in need and support children in foster care and young athletes.
Courtney Rehfeldt has worked in the broadcasting media industry since 2007 and has freelanced since 2012. Her work has been featured in Age of Awareness, Times Beacon Record, The New York Times, and she has an upcoming piece in Slate. She studied yoga & meditation under Beryl Bender Birch at The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute. She enjoys hiking, being outdoors, and is an avid reader. Courtney has a BA in Media & Communications studies.