Simone Biles Withdraws from Finals and We’re Not Mad at Her!
TOKYO — Gymnastics superstar and defending Olympic champion Simone Biles has withdrawn from Thursday’s individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Games to focus on her mental well-being.
The decision comes a day after Biles removed herself from the team final following one rotation, on vault. She cited her mental health as the reason when speaking to the media following the competition.
As the first Olympian to earn Twitters GOAT emoji, Biles had been the overwhelming favorite to repeat as individual all-around champion. But her status was left in doubt after Tuesday’s outing, and she told the media she wasn’t sure if she would be able to compete on Thursday.
She posted on social media on Monday that she felt the weight of the world on her shoulders. The weight became too heavy after vaulting during team finals. She lost herself in midair and completed 1½ twists instead of 2½. She consulted with U.S. team doctor Marcia Faustin before walking off the field of play.
Ms. Biles has shone a bright light as well as validated an issue that will positively affect the Black community. Too often we’re looked at as “superhuman” and that’s a weight no one can bear.
African Americans are as likely to experience mental illness as other Americans but more likely to get poor or no treatment. Black women are often left out of research studies and hesitant to obtain mental health care. There are many reasons for that, including racism, mental health stigma, and the history of providers using information against them.
They may also have difficulty finding therapists who are Black or culturally competent. “The ‘strong black woman concept’ (implies that) we’re able to handle all things and so sometimes clinicians—who may not be culturally competent—may also [believe that stereotype],” said Mia Moore Kirby, an assistant professor in social work and the Center for African American Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington. “That’s not validating a person’s experience, not empathizing with what’s going on, and maybe minimizing their symptoms.” Some organizations and programs across the U.S., such as those described in this article, are working to destigmatize therapy and make culturally competent care more accessible to Black women.
Here are some resources for more information and treatment. – https://www.georgetownbehavioral.com/node/2529