Olympians to tackle mental health with Wellbeing Series

5 September 2022

Olympians will empower mental health conversations through the Australian Olympic Committee’s Wellbeing Series 2022, presented by Allianz.

Launching today, Olympians and experts in the field will share their mental health journeys in livestreamed shows and across Australian Olympic Team social channels under the series theme of #TackleTogether.

Opening with a social campaign, Olympians including Elijah Winnington, Jess Stenson, Skye Nicolson, Blake Edwards, Brad Hore, Belle Brockhoff and Kyah Simon will share insights on their mental health journeys from today until RUOK Day this Thursday 8 September.

Three live shows streamed across Australian Olympic Team channels from October to December will shine a spotlight across different aspects of wellbeing.

  • #TackleTogether will focus on the importance of social inclusion to wellbeing, with Olympians Casey Dellacqua, Hannah Davis and Peter Bol, Paralympian and Allianz ambassador Madison de Rosario, hosted by Olympian Amy Jones on 14 October
  • #TackleYourFears with renowned big wave surfer Mark Mathews, who will showcase techniques to address fears, and strengthen and sustain your mindset, hosted by dual Winter Olympian James Matheson on 11 November.
  • #TackleSustainability will bring together diver Sam Fricker, Dr Sheila Nguyen, Head of Sustainability FIFA Women’s’ World Cup 2023 and Matthew Nicholas, Director of Sustainability, Tennis Australia to discuss how sport can drive positive change, hosted by four-time mogul Olympian Britt Cox on 2 December.

AOC CEO Matt Carroll welcomed the opportunity for Olympians to inspire important conversations on wellbeing.

“The importance of wellbeing and promoting positive mental health has never been clearer,” Mr Carroll said. “From grassroots to Olympic competition, playing, officiating, volunteering and supporting, sport can be a great, positive force for improving wellbeing.

“Olympians have faced challenges throughout their athletic journey, and sharing their experience can have a real impact for Australians facing challenges in their own lives.

“Thank you to Allianz for your ongoing support of Australian athletes and to help shine a light on the important issue of mental health for the Australian community.”

Dual Olympic marathon runner Jess Stenson shared the importance of open conversations in maintaining her mental wellbeing during challenging times.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the importance of really looking after your mental health,” Stenson said. “There are times in my career where I’ve lacked motivation, where I’ve felt confused and questioned if I’m on the right pathway and other times where I’ve felt I lacked control.

“Through all of these situations it really helped me to reach out to my support team, people I trust like my family, husband, coach or sports psych to help me manage these periods and get through to the other side.

“These periods have given me a greater understanding of myself as well, and through open and honest conversations I have been able to find strategies that can help when I’m going through those tougher patches.”

Tokyo Olympic boxer Skye Nicolson said vulnerability wasn’t a weakness, but an opening to connect with people and support your own wellbeing.

“Everyone experiences mental health challenges in all walks of life, in all different ways,” Nicolson said. “I think the only way we break the stigma is by being open about it – talking about it, being honest and vulnerable.

“In my own personal experience, I broke down on live TV after a very close loss at the Tokyo Olympics and just missing out on a medal. In that moment I felt embarrassed and vulnerable - but the amount of people that reached out to me and told me how much I helped them, by showing them it’s OK to show you’re not OK, was a big eye opener.

“Reaching out when we need help is so important and showing people that it’s OK to do it, it doesn’t make you weak.”

Wellbeing Series sponsor Allianz Australia’s Renee Davidson, General Manager of Marketing, said: “The last three years have been incredibly tough for so many, but a positive that has come out of the experience is that we are having open conversations around wellbeing, particularly mental health.

"There is power in being vulnerable and we hope that all Australians can take inspiration and strength from Australia’s elite athletes speaking openly about their fears and the importance of caring for your mental wellbeing in this series.”

For any media enquiries, journalists can contact our Media team

For any enquiries related to the Olympics, contact Dominic Sullivan, Australian Olympic Committee Media Contact.

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