Removing the stigma of mental health help

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JOPLIN, MO – We all know Simone Biles is an inspiration in the gymnastics world.

She’s also an inspiration when it comes to every day life, and some say now even more so.

Joyce Payne is a licensed professional counselor at Mount Hope Christian Counseling in Webb City.

She says the more often well known members of society open up about needing psychological help, it’s more likely others will follow suit.

“And as celebrities do that, again they’re the role models especially that our younger generation look up to, and as we all start to get honest about our struggles, I think it becomes less of a stigma to get help when we need it, and then we start to get better as a country, we start to get healthier as a country.” Says Payne.

In fact, she’s not even the first prominent Olympian to admit she’s, in her own words that she’s, “not in a good place.”

The greatest Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, has done that too.

“We don’t relate to each other in perfection, we relate to each other really in the things that we struggle with, and when I think about her owning that and admitting that, that’s giving average people the permission to say I struggle with that everyday too.” Says Payne.

“I certainly think it’s going to open the door for a lot more conversations.” Says Bryan Schiding, MSSU Dir. Track & Field, Cross Country.

As a former athlete and now coach, Bryan expects a trickle down effect when it comes to helping athletes to be all they can be.

“Somebody of that level having that much weight on her shoulders is significantly different than other people at other levels but they all tie in to the same mental health aspect of things, so if anything, I believe it will open doors for more conversations with coaches, administrators, counselors etc.” Says Schiding.

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