Michael Phelps Honored With Mental Health Advocacy Award

23-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps has been honored with the Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion for his role in mental health advocacy. The 33-year-old retired swimming icon was given the honor by Boston-based Ruderman Family Foundation, a leading voice in calling for more opportunities for the disabled.

According to the AP, the Foundation selected Phelps for ‘his advocacy for people with disabilities, as well as his own journey with mental health.’

Post-Rio Olympics, Phelps has been active on the mental health scene, including seeing his philanthropy arm, The Michael Phelps Foundation, partner with Nemours KidsHealth.org to expand the Foundation’s im Program offerings to incorporate mental health lessons and activities.

In 2017, the Arizona native joined the board of Medibio, an Australian medical technology company. Medibio has developed new technology that helps diagnose mental health disorders such as depression or chronic stress. Last year Phelps also announced a partnership with Talkspace, which provides online therapy for those who are going through tough times.

Phelps has also been vocal on the mainstream media scene, speaking on The Today Show as recent as last October, stressing, “Being able to open up the conversation about it I think is something that’s something that’s so important. You know, really trying to take the stigma away.”

This week Phelps thanked the Ruderman Family Foundation for “their continued efforts to help eliminate the shame and stigma that surrounds mental illness.

“Together, we can normalize the mental health conversation and recognize the potential in every person — with or without mental illness — to contribute to our world in their own unique way.” (AP)

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cynthia curran

Well, I think it was very difficult to reach the height of your achievement in life at age 23 years old. No longer Micheal Phelps had problems after the 2008 Olympics.I knew he had problems due to the ADHD to begin with bur early success with trip people up in their perception of themselves.I came across an asperger’s blog and they liked Michael because of the ADHD and being successful. Some of those with asperger’s have the ADHD as well. He should read Temple Grandlin book’s. A person with high functioning Autism that developed stalls for bulls to travel when they are killed for food. She made them less stress out when they do that and feel less pain.


Uh … about a year ago, Phelps revealed that he briefly considered suicide after the London games in 2012.


He has ADHD and suffers from depression. He still gets counseling. That has been well documented, not a secret. Not sure what you’re talking about.


Wonderful work done by the best to ever do it. Issues with mental health in my opinion are highest in endurance based, quantitative, individual sports like swimming and in my opinion isn’t talked about enough. The sheer effort, time commitment, isolation, and monotony involved with the training of our sport takes its toll on the mind and soul. When Phelps spoke about the 7 years of 365 day training he did in the lead up to Beijing, it makes you wonder if the mind-numbingness of such a feat is what leads a lot of our greats such as Michael into almost madness and alcoholism. Just food for thought


He definitely had his struggles. Even after he returned from his first retirement, he still struggled with alcoholism. Rehab after his DUI in 2014 seemed to do him wonders. Just rewatch any of his Olympic finals – he was clearly having more fun in Rio than either of the previous Olympics.

Jay ryan

MP was very tough on himself through the years with his DUI and photo indiscretions. He has done a lot to raise awareness to the issue of depression in swimming, likely contributed to by chronic fatigue, and caloric and sleep deprivation. I have always been an MP fan back from the freeswim211 posting days. Godspeed.


Who said he had caloric, chronic fatigue and sleep deprivation? He has ADHD and bouts of depression which is a diagnosed illness. He still gets counseling.

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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