Physically strong athletes aren’t immune to mental health challenges

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Steamboat Springs athletes are a different breed. This little city has produced more Olympians than any other in the U.S., and that history of elite athletics encourages cyclists, runners, snowboarders and more to push their boundaries and achieve great things with their physical abilities.

If any town has mastered physical health, it’s probably this one, but the same can’t be said about mental health, yet.

Athletes report mental health issues at the same rate as nonathletes, according to Dr. Kristin Orlowski, a licensed psychologist with UCHealth Family Medicine in Littleton. So there isn’t evidence of athletes having a deeper stigma. On the other hand, athletes might be more aware of their mental state since physical activities are very much mental. Yet athletes don’t address mental health issues more often, either.

Fortunately, there are organizations and individuals working to make talking about mental health as normal as discussing fitness regimens.

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