Here, accounts of brave athletes, actors, and royalty battling mental health challenges as the whole world watches. Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka, Meghan Markle, and—most recently Venus Williams—along with 10 others, prove that no amount of money, glamour, physical health, or privilege can fend off the heartbreak and devastation of despair. But when the glitterati shares their struggles or speaks out, it normalizes the problem and helps the rest of us feel less alone.

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In a personal essay published in the New York Times (September 2021), tennis legend Venus Williams recalls how she learned early on that the body and mind work together.

As a young and rising tennis star, Venus’s mother told her that mental health was an important component of success on the court.

That no matter how well she hit the ball or how physically strong she was, unless she tended to her mental health she wouldn’t be successful on the court.

“I may be a professional tennis player, but I actually don’t think I’m that different from everyone else,” Williams wrote. “All of us face mental health challenges resulting from the inevitable setbacks and uncertainties of life. We also live in a culture that glorifies being a workaholic, where the risks of burnout are often ignored, and where, let’s face it, whether you’re on or off the court, winning is everything.”

To address barriers to mental health care that so many in America face, Williams has partnered with BetterHelp (an online therapy service) and the Women’s Tennis Association to provide $2 million toward free therapy. Visit for more information and to sign up.


Updated: Sep 15, 2021
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