Former National Teamers Found Mental Health Initiative

Courtney Kalisz and Dagny Knutson have teamed up to launch, an initiative aimed at the stigma surrounding mental illness.

“Our own experiences with mental illness led them to want to help others suffering from mental health conditions,” Kalisz told SwimSwam. “We have created Connection In Mind as an online space just for individuals suffering from mental illness and their loved ones.

“Our mission is to provide aspace for those individuals and their loved ones to connect with others affected by mental illness through our Connection In Mind message board, share their stories, learn more about mental illness, access resources pertaining to mental illness, and fight the terrible and undue stigma surrounding mental illness.”

Kalisz was a national and U.S. Open champ in the mid-2000s, and Knutson a World champ in 2011. But the two have also faced long bouts with depression and bulimia, respectively, and hope to use their painful experiences to help connect others dealing with similar issues.

You can check out the website here. It shares more of Kalisz’s and Knutson’s stories, and has links to resources on various mental illnesses.

“Dagny and I wish to demonstrate that mental illness can happen to anyone, including elite athletes who may appear to have ‘perfect’ lives,” Kalisz says. “We wish to challenge the stigma and prove to others that living with mental illness should carry no shame, and that those suffering from mental illness can go on to lead healthy and fulfilling lives by managing the illness through proper diagnosis and treatment.”

ConnectionInMind is also on social media: check them out here:

ConnectionInMind on Twitter

ConnectionInMind on Facebook

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Great stuff. We are a high achiever sport and mental illness hits a lot of us hard. Go Dagny and Courtney.


Some people have problems to begin with. Was Michael Phelps drinking problem fame as a great swimmer or being put down as a child because of hyperactivity. Swimmers sometimes have problems before they make it in swimming, Amanda Beard according to her book had mild dyslexia and OCD. Mild Dyslexia means she was a little behind in some school subjects as a child.


Way to go, ladies!! Nice work and thanks for putting yourself out there to help others. You’re a blessing.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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