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Olympic great Michael Phelps is 'riding a few waves up and down' during COVID-19 pandemic

Brian Sozzi
·Editor-at-Large
·3 min read

Some may not believe it when looking at his superhuman achievements at the Olympics, but swimming legend Michael Phelps is in fact human.

And that means even the Olympic great — who has been open about battling with mental health issues like depression — has had tough days during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m riding a few waves up and down, but I think we all are,” the 23-time gold medalist Phelps told Yahoo Finance Live.

Phelps has teamed up with consumer products maker Colgate for the Colgate Optimism Project. The initiative aims to help the homeless get access to food and supply them with personal protective gear. It will also tap into influencers such as Phelps to assist in spreading insights in communities on how to stay positive during these challenging times.

Added Phelps, “You are not alone if you are struggling. I’ll be the first one to admit it hasn’t been the smoothest road for me either [during the pandemic]. I have just been trying to survive the waves I guess you could say. I have survived rollercoasters, and that has been one of the funniest things for me but also challenging. There is so much unknown for me just trying to stay to a routine. Making sure I am taking care of myself has been a big, important factor.”

FILE - In this Dec. 19, 2014, file photo, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps walks into a courthouse for a trial on drunken driving and other charges in Baltimore. After revealing the depths of his depression _ and even thoughts of suicide after his second drunken-driving arrest _ Phelps is hoping to make a difference for those who are dealing with similar issues. The 23-time Olympic gold medalist announced a partnership with Talkspace, which provides online therapy, and said he considers it a higher calling than anything he ever did as a swimmer. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 19, 2014, file photo, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps walks into a courthouse for a trial on drunken driving and other charges in Baltimore. After revealing the depths of his depression _ and even thoughts of suicide after his second drunken-driving arrest _ Phelps is hoping to make a difference for those who are dealing with similar issues. The 23-time Olympic gold medalist announced a partnership with Talkspace, which provides online therapy, and said he considers it a higher calling than anything he ever did as a swimmer. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

While the pandemic has certainly had a devastating toll on businesses around the world, it has also done a number on the mental health of many individuals.

According to new research out of The Lancent Psychiatry, nearly 20% of COVID-19 patients developed a mental health issue within three months of diagnosis. Some of those mental health issues included depression, anxiety or dementia. Their risk was about double those that didn’t contract COVID-19.

The study assessed the health records of 69 million people in the U.S., including 62,000 who had COVID-19.

In August, research from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found “markedly elevated prevalences of reported adverse mental and behavioral health conditions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.” Of the roughly 10,000 people surveyed by the CDC, 31% reported symptoms of anxiety or another depressive disorder.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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