Michael Phelps has won 28 Olympic medals, but he isn't immune to the gravity of mental illness. "You do contemplate suicide," he said during a mental health conference in Chicago. He revealed that he experienced his first depression spell in 2004. After the 2012 Olympics, he said, it was his "hardest fall" and he didn't want to swim anymore. "I didn't want to be alive anymore," he said. Eventually, he decided to get help.
Now, Michael shares his experience in an effort to help others not feel so alone. He told CNN that mental illness "has a stigma around it and that's something we still deal with every day. I think people actually finally understand it is real. People are talking about it and I think this is the only way that it can change."
He's a spokesperson for Talkspace, the online therapy platform that he himself uses. The company now offers services for users ages 13 to 17 (it was previously only available for adults 18 and older). He's also working to incorporate a mental health component into his foundation, the IM Program, which has a mission to grow the sport of swimming and promote healthier lifestyles.