Naomi Osaka Shows Us That Top Athletes Are Human, Too

Naomi Osaka puts mental health front and center:

Tennis phenomenon Naomi Osaka is the biggest name in sports these days, and it’s not just because of her prodigious talent.

Osaka met with threats for her attempts at self-care:

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) was slammed as “hypocritical” for responding to Ms. Osaka’s withdrawal from the tournament with, “we remain very committed to all athletes’ well-being and to continually improving every aspect of players’ experience in our Tournament, including with the Media, like we have always strived to do.”

Osaka’s actions could very well save lives:

Sean Gregory, writing for, posted an article saying that Ms. Osaka’s actions will be life-saving to other athletes who have been suffering from mental health issues.

Michael Phelps struggled with depression:

Phelps, himself has dealt with severe depression and thoughts of suicide, even after winning his pile of gold medals. This is only one example of how mental illness can’t be staved off by external success. In fact, the pressures of being a sports celebrity could even increase one’s susceptibility to mental health issues.

Athletes aren’t allowed to be vulnerable:

As a psychiatrist in practice for over twenty years, I find it terribly sad that these extremely hard-working athletes who sacrifice so much to perform so brilliantly are rarely permitted to have moments of fear, vulnerability or weakness.

Writer, speaker, MD, and author of the Short & Sweet Guides to Life book series