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What Naomi Osaka’s Conversation About Depression Does for the Rest of Us

Posted on June 04, 2021
Article written by
Anika Brahmbhatt

Naomi Osaka is among the most recent celebrities to publicly discuss a diagnosis of depression. By taking this courageous step, the tennis star has helped make the depression room bigger, contributing to awareness and discussion of the condition around the world, and helping others with depression feel less alone.

Osaka withdrew from the French Open earlier this week, noting that she had "suffered long bouts of depression since the U.S. Open in 2018." She said she needed to step away from the tournament to protect her mental health.

The tennis star is not the first athlete to discuss mental health issues, and many others have come before her to share their own battles with depression. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has discussed how he deals with depression, stressing that although he works hard to treat the condition, he continues to struggle. "The thing is — and people who live with mental health issues all know this — it never goes away," he said last year.

NBA star Kevin Love has also shared details about his battle with depression on multiple occasions. The Cleveland Cavaliers player wrote in 2020, “Being depressed is exhausting … Sometimes it feels like the world is looking at you saying things like, ‘Come on, man, just get over it. Don’t think like that. Just move on.’ But what people on the outside don’t always understand is that it takes all of your strength and willpower just to exist.”

MyDepressionTeam members often discuss how other people tell them they should “just cheer up” or “stop being depressed,” but they note that it’s harder in practice to do that. “Unless you have a mental illness, you just can’t understand,” one member wrote.

Members Make the Community Stronger

Since MyDepressionTeam launched in 2016, the network has grown to become over 137,000 members strong — that's a big room! Just as Naomi Osaka’s announcement amplifies the voices of those with depression, each new member on MyDepressionTeam makes the community stronger.

Without a depression community, it can be easy to feel isolated, like you're the only one struggling with depression. Whether you have spoken directly with other members or not, by joining MyDepressionTeam and reading shared experiences, you have become part of the community.

Here are a few easy actions you can take to welcome and support other members:

  • Hug or like someone's post
  • Say hello to a new member
  • Answer a question in Q+A
  • Add someone to your team
  • Consider other ways to get started on MyDepressionTeam

Together we make a stronger community!

Talk With Others Who Understand

On MyDepressionTeam, over 137,000 people living with depression come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with depression.

Are you living with depression? Share your experiences in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.

Anika Brahmbhatt is an undergraduate student at Boston University, where she is pursuing a dual degree in media science and psychology. Learn more about her here.

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