USA Gymnastics to cover mental health visits

The organization made the announcement on World Mental Health Day.

October 10, 2022, 9:53 PM

USA Gymnastics is adding additional mental health services for athletes and coaches as part of its new athlete and wellness program, the organization announced Monday.

Athletes will receive up to eight mental health visits a year up to $125 per visit, while coaches are eligible for up to four visits per year, according to USA Gymnastics.

"Athlete health and wellness is at the core of our value system, and the importance of mental health has been paramount not just for athletes, but for everyone in recent years," USA Gymnastics CEO Li Li Leung said in a statement.

"Being able to fund services that athletes and their coaches can receive in their hometowns, by their preferred providers, is essential for wellbeing and something we have always wanted to do. We thank GK for providing the additional funding that has enabled us to make this program a reality."

PHOTO: In this Sept. 15, 2021, file photo, U.S. gymnasts (L-R) Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols arrive to testify during a Senate Judiciary hearing, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C.
In this Sept. 15, 2021, file photo, U.S. gymnasts (L-R) Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols arrive to testify during a Senate Judiciary hearing about the Inspector General's report on the FBI handling of the Larry Nassar investigation of sexual abuse of Olympic gymnasts, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C.
Pool/Getty Images, FILE

Both coaches and athletes will also be able to choose a licensed therapist in sports psychology or mental health.

USA Gymnastics coincided its announcement with this year's World Mental Health Day.

Over half of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lives and one in five Americans will experience a mental illness each year, based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization, 15% of working-age adults live with mental illness around the world.

Last year, Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles withdrew from some competitions at the Tokyo Olympics "to focus on her mental health," USA Gymnastics announced at the time.

Biles has also had a difficult history with the sport of gymnastics.

She was one of dozens of gymnasts who spoke out about the rampant sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced in 2018 to up to 175 years in prison.

PHOTO: In this Sept. 15, 2021, file photo, U.S. gymnasts Jessica Howard (at right) and Kaylee Lorincz watch as U.S. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles testifies during a Senate Judiciary committee hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C.
In this Sept. 15, 2021, file photo, U.S. gymnasts Jessica Howard (at right) and Kaylee Lorincz watch as U.S. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles testifies during a Senate Judiciary committee hearing about the Inspector General's report on the FBI handling of the Larry Nassar investigation of sexual abuse of gymnasts, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C.
Saul Loeb, Pool via AFP via Getty Images, FILE

In June, Nassar’s victims sued the FBI for $1 billion over its handling of Nassar’s sexual abuse case.

ABC News' Katie Kindelan, Pierre Thomas, Luke Barr, Teddy Grant and Kevin Shalvey contributed to this report.

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