Breanna Stewart: 'Mental health is real'

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Breanna Stewart: 'Mental health is real' originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

Mental health has become a heavily discussed topic in athletics as well as employees in the workplace.

No longer is it really a disrespected topic, but now embraced and taken seriously.

Athletes have been at the forefront to discuss the topic and give their thoughts on it. On the heels of Naomi Osaka discussing it and Simone Biles withdrawing from a gymnastics event due to self-doubt, Storm forward Breanna Stewart gave her thoughts on the topic.

“Mental health is real,” Stewart said. “Making sure that you’re in a great mental state of mind isn’t always the easiest thing. Especially here at the Olympics, you see that everything is heightened. The pressure is heightened, the pride is heightened, the wanting to represent your country and do everything you possibly can to win is everywhere. For us, as athletes, we feel that and it’s making sure we have a happy balance.”

Representing a country is always a ton of pressure athletes face. For some nations, like the United States, athletes in major sports are expected to not only win but dominate. While there are other countries just happy to be there and others tasting gold for the first time.

The Olympic stage is as big as it can get for athletes, and it can surely become taxing due to pressure or underperformance. That’s something all athletes in Tokyo can share.

As for the women's national basketball team, they’re expected to dominate. No American will care too much if they win, but will surely have an opinion if they lose.