Naomi Osaka shared she is having a “blast” on the tennis court for the first time in a while after her mental health break.
Osaka, 24, withdrew from the French Open in May of last year due to mental health issues. She said last year that reporters often “have no regard for athletes’ mental health,” according to the Daily Mail.
Osaka opened up about her anxiety and depression with SELF in honor of Mental Health Awareness month, sharing her experience since her dropping out of the open and how she feels now, People reported.
“After I opened up about struggles … I spoke to a lot of athletes that told me they too had quietly been suffering,” Osaka said according to People. “I didn’t expect any of it, and to be honest it was a bit strange.”
Osaka also said that she was “glad” that she was able to give others an opportunity to speak up about their experiences with mental health, although that was not her initial intention, People reported.
“I wanted to start listening to myself and doing things that I needed to do to protect my mindset,” the 24-year-old shared. “Speaking up on issues that aren’t always easy to talk about is new to me but something I am really glad I am starting to do. For me it was just important to tell people how I was honestly feeling at the moment.”
Osaka now is talking to a therapist which has been “incredibly helpful,” the Daily Mail reports.
“I have seen therapists in the past but not consistently until now,” Osaka said. “I’m super happy that I found the right person who really understands me and has been incredibly helpful.”
She shared with People magazine that she feels happy in her “mental health journey.”
“I feel comfortable in who I am and where I have come from,” she said. “There have been ups and downs and I wouldn’t change a thing, which really helps to give me inner peace.”
The tennis player recently started collaborating with Modern Health, a workplace mental health platform, People reported. The company aims to raise awareness and destigmatize mental health in younger generation and marginalized communities.
Osaka is to be the chief community health advocate of Modern Health’s community impact program, according to People magazine.
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