Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps (Courtesy of Talkspace)

Talkspace, the global leader in online therapy, and Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, has partnered to promote therapy as an important tool to help improve one’s mental health.

The partnership announced Tuesday, May 22 will feature a national TV campaign in which Phelps will share his personal experiences, encourage people to speak openly about mental health and demonstrate the unique benefits of Talkspace.

The campaign will be supported by and seen on multiple platforms.

“Throughout my career, I struggled with depression and anxiety at various times, and I found it so difficult to get the help I needed,” Phelps said. “As I started opening up and talking about my issues, I felt strength, not vulnerability, and when I discovered I could speak with a therapist by text, web or video — wherever I might be — it was an amazing feeling of empowerment.

“I want to help others who may be dealing with the same mental health challenges I have experienced and show them that help is so much easier to access now, and more affordable,” he said,

Talksace said its partnership with Phelps aims to fight the stigma surrounding mental health and the forces that keep millions of people from trying therapy.

Phelps will also join the Talkspace board of advisers, which is comprised of a small group of industry experts, psychologists and corporate CEOs, to help advise the company on its mental health strategy.

“Talkspace is pleased to have Michael Phelps join the team,” said company CEO Oren Frank. “His deep knowledge of the mental health advocacy world, as well as his commitment to data-driven improvements in the field, will be invaluable to the Talkspace Advisory Board as we work to make Talkspace a key part of how people manage their mental health.

“This initiative demonstrates Michael’s commitment to breaking down the stigma around therapy and illustrates how this partnership will help eliminate barriers for those in need,” Frank said.

Touted as therapy that is evidence-based, affordable and convenient, Talkspace provides many forms of psychotherapy available to individuals and organizations. Users can send their therapist a message via computer, tablet or smartphone.

Conversations carry over seamlessly across devices and are protected with banking-grade encryption to ensure privacy and confidentiality, according to Talkspace.

The company said that all clinicians on the Talkspace platform are licensed and vetted and the platform has been developed under the careful eye of clinicians and researchers from top universities and health centers.

“Michael Phelps’ powerful personal story is an incredible vehicle for educating Americans about the importance of mental health, and for erasing the stigma that has kept so many from seeking therapy,” said Michael Kuznetsov, Talkspace’s vice president of marketing. “All too often, we forget that mental illness does not discriminate and that you can be affected no matter your background, occupation or level of success. Michael’s open and honest story makes it clear that we can all benefit from therapy, no matter who we are.”

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s...

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