Michael Phelps on overcoming suicidal thoughts: 'Just communicating changed my life'

Money, fame, and 28 gold medals isn’t enough to equate to happiness if you ask Michael Phelps. The most decorated Olympian of all time is opening up about the darkest moment of his life dealing with depression.

“I didn’t want to live anymore,” Michael Phelps tells Yahoo.

The 32-year-old reveals that depression and anxiety caused him to contemplate suicide, and it all started in middle school, where he was bullied because of his appearance — which made him not like the way he looks.

Phelps harbored these feelings all through his 20, and it wasn’t until two years ago things began to change. He decided to speak up and ask for help, which he says saved his life.

Many athletes experience some form of a mental health illness, with one in four college athletes showing signs of depression and very few seek professional help.

Phelps is among a group of athletes and celebrities who battle with mental health illnesses — such as New York Giants Brandon Marshall, who’s been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, former Knicks player Michael Sweetney, who attempted suicide during his rookie season, and Demi Lovato has opened up about living with bipolar disorder.

The Baltimore native also tells Yahoo he believes social media has had a major impact on mental health, especially with today’s youth.

More than one in three young people have experienced threats online, and over 25 percent of adolescents have been bullied repeatedly via the internet. An increase of cyberbullying correlates to an increase in adolescent suicide. According to the CDC, the suicide rate for girls ages 15 to 19 doubled from 2007 to 2015 and for boys ages 15 to 19 increased by 30 percent over the same time period.

We continue to see an increasing number of celebrities and athletes open up about dealing with mental health illnesses. With their transparency, hopefully the stigma will subside and millions of lives can be saved.

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HELLO to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line.

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