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)