Olympic gold medalists Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt are partnering with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to raise awareness about children’s mental health.
They will chair a discussion Thursday night focused on the mental health care that kids need — and how families can access mental health resources.
National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day 2017 will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET. Come back at that time to watch the event live in this story.
During the event, the two Olympians will be honored by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
The National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day event is a talk-show-style discussion that focuses on the importance of caring for kids’ mental health, including substance disorders, just as families care for kids’ physical health.
This year’s theme is “Partnering for Help and Hope.”
The issue is important to both Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, and to Schmitt, an eight-time Olympic medalist. Both have been up-front about their own struggles with mental health and substance abuse.
Phelps had been arrested for driving under the influence in 2004 and 2014; a photo of him using pot at a party in 2009 cost him sponsorships and led to a brief ban from swimming.
In an interview with NBC Sports’ host Bob Costas, Phelps said he thought about taking his own life.
He checked himself into a rehab clinic in October 2014. Now, his Michael Phelps Foundation works to support active lifestyles for young people.
Schmitt also experienced suicidal thoughts. She made her first Olympic appearance at the 2008 Beijing games. but depression hit after the 2012 London Olympics, CNN reports. Schmitt said she considered driving her car off the road on the way to her sisters’ hockey game after two seasons that did not land her a spot on the USA swim team.
The two have since turned their stories into powerful messages of change.
“At the end of the day, no matter how many records you have, how many medals you have, any accomplishments you have, you’re still a human just like the person next to you,” Schmitt told Swimming World magazine in 2016.
Join NBC Washington for the livestream on this page tonight at 7 p.m. ET.
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