Olympian to speak about mental health at “Healing Our Community with Hope” event

Allison Schmitt prelim swim 100 free Mesa, Arizona (photo: <a href="http://olavistaphotography.com/" target="_blank">Mike Lewis)</a>

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Allison Schmitt, known as Schmitty to her friends, has won 8 Olympic medals; 4 of them gold. But she says the toughest thing she’s ever battled is depression. Back in 2012, Allison won 5 Olympic medals in competing in the London games. But something wasn’t right. She was feeling down and depressed. At the advice of her friend, Michael Phelps, she began seeing a psychologist. Then, her cousin took her own life. That was when she realized that her battle with her mental health was similar to her cousins, and she was determined to have a different outcome.

Allison turned her experience with depression and loss of a loved one into motivation to help. She’ll share her story and experiences at “Healing Our Community with Hope” next week. It’s the second year for the event, co-sponsored by the University of St. Francis and The Lutheran Foundation. Over 1000 people attended last year’s event and they are hoping for more this year. According to Marcia Haaff, CEO of The Lutheran Foundation:

The Lutheran Foundation has invested more than 156 million dollars in 10 counties in northern Indiana. And we really want everybody to be physically, mentally, and spiritually well.

Allison says her medals have special meaning – but that it’s not necessarily the medal itself, but the journey that got her there:

What I can truly say about those 8 medals is that I can now stand in the mirror, look at myself and say 8 words that mean the world to me, saying: ‘Hey Schmitty, it’s ok to not be ok.’

There are two different events at the Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center in downtown Fort Wayne that Allison will speak at on Tuesday, March 7th. One is a lunch seminar at noon for athletic trainers, high school and college athletes, and their coaches. The other is a general keynote session that will take place a bit later in the afternoon. Both events are free, but advanced registration is required. You must register by Friday, March 3rd for the lunch seminar and by Monday, March 6th for the general keynote. Click here to register online.

The Lutheran Foundation has an extensive website that provides resources for mental health at: LookUpIndiana.org.