As the struggle against mental health challenges continues, Venus Williams has joined the league of star athletes to support mental health with the announcement of her $2 million worth of free mental health therapy initiative. This initiative will be in partnership with BetterHelp and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).
Announcing this partnership in a recent statement, the tennis star said, “The challenge of taking care of our mental health through the ups and downs of life is something that all of us, no matter our background, can relate to”.
She went ahead to share her excitement in the partnership, “Now, more than ever, we need to create an accepting and open environment to seek professional mental health therapy, which is why I am so excited to partner with BetterHelp and the WTA to provide access to free therapy and help raise awareness”
This partnership is aimed at providing free one-month therapy via the BetterHelp counseling website. According to the statement, the first $1 million is already accessible while the rest of the fund will be spread, $500 on each ace hit, throughout the remainder of the 2021 WTA Tour season.
Alon Matas, the BetterHelp President, while commenting on the relevance of the partnership said, “We are thrilled to partner with Venus and the WTA to bring greater awareness and access to therapy. Especially today, it is important that we take care of our mental well-being, and therapy provides the space and time to do just that”
As issues concerning mental health continue to gain momentum around the country, Venus William’s colleague, Naomi Osaka recently came out to disclose her personal battles with mental health. She cited anxiety and depression as her reasons for withdrawal from her May and June games. This, according to the tennis star, was to enable her to have some ‘personal time’ before rejoining the games at the Tokyo Summer Olympics in July.
In the wake of the increased conversation on mental health, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) is making efforts to cater to the mental health of its players. One of such efforts is the availability of licensed mental health professionals together with other support provisions which players can access within the duration of this US Open.
Sadly, neither of the Williams sisters is participating in this last key Tennis tournament of 2021 due to different injuries. “It is super, super, super disappointing” lamented in a statement issued via a social media video concerning her absence from the tournament. Venus Williams continued, “I’ve been having some issues with my leg all this summer. Just couldn’t work through it… I just was unable to figure out the equation, and there have been so many times when I was able to figure it out. This time, I couldn’t just make any miracles work”.
However, her contribution towards mental health will go a long way to boost the mental health and morale of players and non-players in the US and beyond.