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The Olympic Games and its impact on Mental Health

There have been an increasing number of Olympians speaking out about the struggle of maintaining their mental health this Olympics, stemming from one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, Simone Biles, withdrawing from competition to prioritise her mental wellbeing. This followed Liz Cambage, an Australian women's basketball player who opted to not go to this year's COVID-impacted games. The individuals who have been the most open about their mental health have been Liz Cambage and Simone Biles. These two incredible women have taken time off work to focus not only on their physical but mental health as well.

What we don't see:

When we watch the Olympics, we see individuals who have worked for years to compete at the world’s pinnacle of sporting competition. Watching through our TV screens, we are unable to see what goes on behind the scenes. Two athletes either declined to take part in the games or took time out of competition to highlight how much all the hard physical work and pressure had caused damage to their mental health which, in turn, prompted the public to feel a sense of proudness of both Olympians who had chosen to put their mental health before their job. This stimulated an important conversation about the issue.

Cambage needing time for herself:

Liz Cambage, a two-time Olympian with the Australian women’s basketball team nicknamed the  “Opals”, declared that she would not be participating in the Olympics. Liz Further explained how she had suffered from panic attacks and anxiety with little sleep; she did not feel strong enough to compete in the Olympics. 

Liz Cambage declaring her withdrawal from the Olympics on her instagram post.

In her instagram post, declaring the reason why she wouldn't be playing in this year’s Olympics, she stated: “relying on daily medication to control my anxiety is not the place I want to be at right now.” She further stated; “I know myself, and I know I can't be the Liz everyone deserves...”. Cambage is now focusing on her ‘mental and physical’ health as she explains to everyone.

Biles leaving before it’s too late:

After her team had won silver, US gymnast Simone Biles left the Olympics in order to focus on her  mental wellbeing, stating, “We have to protect our minds and our bodies...”. Biles had been sexually assaulted when she was younger and inspired people that, no matter what happened in her life, she has worked very hard to get to where she is now. She also revealed that her auntie had died during the Olympics, which was another factor on why she withdrew from the team final and missed more of the events she was tipped to dominate. Biles now continues to inspire people by proving, no matter how high you are close to your goal, your mental health is very important and should always come first.

What does this mean for our attitude towards mental health moving forward?

In recent years, mental health struggles have become less stigmatised and people are now more aware of it. Over the years these amazing athletes have focussed only on their physical wellbeing and have trained so hard in order to get into the Olympics. During this process they have often sacrificed their mental health to reach the top. However, with some of the Olympians coming forward about their personal struggles, we hope to see more individuals focussing on their mental health in the future and raising awareness on the importance of maintaining your mental wellbeing.


Many of us have wanted to ‘cross off’ overseas places to travel from our bucket list but, since the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us, we don't know when those travel dreams may be realised. Instead, we have looked closer to home and, I for one, hadn’t realised there were so many amazing places located in the UK where I might feel as though I’m overseas on my dream vacation!

Here are top 7 places that can be visited within the UK where you may feel like you're abroad/overseas:

  • Italy Venice = Cambridge, England
  • Caribbean = St Ives, Cornwall, England and Isles of Scilly, Cornwall
  • Canada = Haweswater, The Lake District, England
  • Norway = Dungeness, Kent
  • Iceland = Isle of Skye, Inverness-shire
  • Italy = Portmeirion, Gwynedd, Wales
  • New Zealand = Cheddar Gorge, Somerset


As we see global warming affecting so many people around the world, there have been countless amounts of people losing their homes and their loved ones because of the natural disasters that may be happening throughout the years. We really need to make extensive efforts to change the way we travel and mode of transport in order to start making a difference; traveling in a much more sustainable way to help save our planet and our friends and family.

             Things to consider when planning your eco-friendly trip:

  • Visiting “local” places - will significantly cut down / stop plane travel and cut back on vehicle use - thus reducing harmful gases being emitted into the environment.
  • Converting to electric vehicles - reducing contribution to global warming - electric cars / hydrogen cars.
  • Using eco-friendly products - any type of one-time-use products should have a biodegradable packaging and be created by companies who are carbon neutral.
  • Use your own reusable tupperware and bottles, including utensils - instead of buying refreshments that provide you with, for instance, paper cups, take your own reusable items which would cut down on the processes of collection and disposal of this waste..
  • Book eco-conscious accommodation - choose accommodations that take extra care by using eco-friendly materials and products.
  • Prepare food and drink for your journeys - avoid, e.g. fast-food restaurants and shop-made sandwiches, as they use a lot of waste materials which aren’t eco-friendly.
  • Visit eco-friendly places needing your support - places that have been struggling as a result of the pandemic. 

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