Athlete Mental Health & Eating Disorders - a news & discussion thread

Artistic Skaters

Drawing Figures
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This article is about former Canadian skater Liam Dougherty. He struggled with PTSD for many years after skating and is now running for public office:
Dougherty, a Prince Albert born Canadian Junior Figure Skating Champion who competed nationally and internationally as an ice dancer, left the sport in 2007 citing mental health concerns. He said the experience left him traumatized and suicidal, but after seeking treatment he's now looking to get into municipal politics.

Dougherty formally announced his plans to run for Prince Albert's vacant Ward 7 seat on September 8. He said the rigid and inflexible world of figure skating helped prepare him for the challenges of being an elected official, while his experience with mental illness helped him identify with those who are less fortunate.
 

Sylvia

Wishing I could go back to the Lake Placid JGP
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62,838
Elliana Pogrebinsky has launched her own website that includes a blog and resources section: https://womeninathletics.com/

Elliana's latest conversation is with Rachael Flatt - "Currently she is in her third year of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at UNC chapel hill. Topics include the importance of continuing education, the importance of asking for help, competitive teammates, and what is being done to help Figure Skaters."

Last week's chat was with "former Team USA Ice Dancer and Amber Leigh Anderson, a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor trained in sensorimotor psychotherapy who specializes in trauma, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression."
 

B.Cooper

Well-Known Member
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487
The USOPC announcement from yesterday....Dr Jessica Bartley, as Director of Mental Health Services


Bartley will be responsible for the development and implementation of mental health services and programming for Team USA.

"The hiring of Bartley is the latest step in the USOPC's efforts to deliver on its commitment to enhance wellness resources to Team USA athletes. In April, the USOPC created the Mental Health Taskforce, which works to develop best practices, resources and action plans to support the mental health needs of Team USA athletes and those who support them, both on and off the field of play. Following the formation of the Taskforce, three independent mental health officers joined the USOPC in July to expand mental health offerings for the U.S. athlete community. Finally, the creation of the Mental Health Fund took place in September, which will supplement important funding for USOPC mental health through a $1.5 million donation to the United States Olympic & Paralympic Foundation from donors Yucca and Gary Rieschel. More details on the USOPC’s mental health offerings and resources can be found at TeamUSA.org/MentalHealth."
 

B.Cooper

Well-Known Member
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487
For those of you who are interested, today's session at the USOPC Assembly:

Race, Sport & Social Change: Learning with Team USA
Thursday, Oct. 1 – 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. MT

For decades, athletes have used the power of their platform to point a spotlight on injustices in American society. Specifically, Black Olympic and Paralympic athletes and athletes of color have used their achievements on the field of play to spark conversations about addressing systemic racism and creating a more equitable society for all. Utilizing leadership from Team USA athletes, the newly formed Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice and the Team USA Mental Health Taskforce, “Race, Sport & Social Change: Learning with Team USA” will explore how we can use our personal platforms to inspire social change.

The event features Olympic gold medalist Simone Manuel; Dr. Judi Brown Clarke, Olympic silver medalist and vice president of equity & inclusion and chief diversity officer at Stony Brook University; and Dr. Kensa Gunter, Certified Mental Performance Consultant and president-elect of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. Moderated by Ahmed Fareed, NBC Sports.

To attend, please add to your calendar and access link via this link at the time of the event with the passcode 512639.
 

Sylvia

Wishing I could go back to the Lake Placid JGP
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62,838
Elliana Pogrebinsky's latest conversation is with Madison Hubbell:
 

Sylvia

Wishing I could go back to the Lake Placid JGP
Messages
62,838
Rachael Flatt tweeted this yesterday:
"And we’re off! Help us unlock the genetic code for eating disorders. If you have had an eating disorder at any time in your life, join the EDGI research study @uncceed @UNC & become one of 100,000 participants worldwide."
For more info: https://edgi.org/

We are excited to announce the launch of the Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI), a global initiative to discover the genes that cause anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. Researchers in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Denmark will collect clinical information and saliva samples from over 16,000 people with a history of eating disorders and individuals without an eating disorder. The goal of the research study is to transform our knowledge about the causes of eating disorders to work toward greater understanding and ultimately a cure.
UNC is mapping the genetics of eating disorders to develop better treatments: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article246417945.html
Excerpts:
“We are clearly in the midst of a mental health p*ndemic,” Bulik said. “The things (participants) talked about most was the lack of structure in their days ... (and) a lack of social support. Eating disorders thrive in isolation.”
While there have been numerous psychiatric studies of eating disorders, the biologic underpinnings of the illness are still relatively unknown, and there are no medications to treat eating disorders
“Part of that is because we haven’t understood the biology of eating disorders,” she said.
By expanding the research to include other eating disorders, EDGI could determine if certain genetics predispose someone to multiple illnesses, or whether they all have unique causes.
“My gut says and preliminary information shows that there might be some shared genetic factors across all three disorders, but also unique genetic factors associated with them that decides the path (of treatment) you go down,” she said. “There is not a clear demarcation between these disorders. People will toggle back and forth between anorexia and bulimia. They are not mutually exclusive.”
 
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Sylvia

Wishing I could go back to the Lake Placid JGP
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62,838
Elliana Pogrebinsky's latest conversation with Polina Edmunds:
...Polina is a longtime close friend of mine so we decided to change things up, having a nice chat outdoors and baking some pumpkin truffles. Topics include the over emphasis of technique in singles skating, pushing the body too far too soon, pre-puberty skating, and a special emphasis on birth control.
Many of Polina Edmunds' podcast episodes are relevant to this thread:
 

Garden Kitty

Tranquillo
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28,569
TSN has a show tomorrow called Disorder about eating disorders in athletes. Based on the trailer (and tweets from Kristen and Rachael Flatt) it appears Kristen Moore-Towers is one of the athletes sharing their stories


Kristen's tweet:

My main goal as I near the end of my career, is to be somebody that my teenage self may have needed. I’m grateful for this platform to start a conversation about something that has taken up so much space in my life. Thank you
@TSN_Sports
and
@T_BritnellTSN
 

honey

Well-Known Member
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1,101
The piece ran tonight during sports centre on TSN. I’ll add some details below, so trigger warning for anyone sensitive to this.

Kirsten says she had bulimia, at its worst allowing herself to only keep one apple a day. She talked about how it was a superior who told her “if she was really trying, she’s stick her finger down her throat”. She says with the help of a psychologist she has recovered. Julie Marcotte supported her through the journey.

Rachael Flatt was involved in the piece, both talking about her skating experiences and from the perspective of her work now.

It’s a tough watch, hearing these stories (there was also a runner featured). I don’t really have too many other thoughts on it though. There was some focus on things being done now to improve things from the top down, but it all felt a little surface level. I suppose there’s only so much one can put in a fifteen minute segment. It’s good that there is more openness now about some of the things that have to change, but it’s clear so much more needs to be done.
 

Garden Kitty

Tranquillo
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Thanks for some of the descriptions. While this program may not change some of the influences, perhaps some of the young people who look up to these athletes will be assured that even successful people who look like they "have it all" can still have issues. If the show encourages anyone to seek help, or lets them know they're not alone, it's a good thing.
 

honey

Well-Known Member
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1,101
Thanks for some of the descriptions. While this program may not change some of the influences, perhaps some of the young people who look up to these athletes will be assured that even successful people who look like they "have it all" can still have issues. If the show encourages anyone to seek help, or lets them know they're not alone, it's a good thing.
Absolutely! I didn’t mean to discredit the benefits of pieces like this at all.
 

Sylvia

Wishing I could go back to the Lake Placid JGP
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62,838
TSN's 12-minute original feature titled DISORDER can be watched here with Kirsten Moore-Towers, Rachael Flatt & runner Yuki Hebner (Julie Marcotte also appears):

Kirsten also participated in a very good conversation afterwards on FB: https://www.facebook.com/178835736054/videos/1340555496114995
 
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Sylvia

Wishing I could go back to the Lake Placid JGP
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62,838
Gracie Gold, DeMar DeRozan, and Molly Seidel appeared on Sarah Spain's "That's What She Said" podcast discussing mental health.
Thanks for the heads up, @kwanfan1818! Link to listen:

DeMar DeRozan, Gracie Gold, and Molly Seidel: 11/10/20
Sarah talks about mental health in sports with NBA All-Star DeMar DeRozan, US Olympic medal winning figure skater Gracie Gold, and professional long distance runner Molly Seidel. They discuss when they came to grips with their struggles, what their low points were, why sweeping things under the rug is not a solution, and why communicating their feelings and having a strong support network is so vital.
 

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