Psychologist on Biles: "The world on top of a little girl" 4:21
(CNN Business) -
(CNN Business) -
The common thread among all of Tuesday's top stories was mental health.
It was at the center of Simone Biles' shocking decision to withdraw from her team's Olympic competition.
He was highlighted by police officers who testified about persistent injuries from the January 6 attack.
And it was invoked by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky when she rekindled the so-called "mask wars."
"This weighs heavily on me," Walensky said while presenting revised recommendations for mask use.
"I know that 18 months into this pandemic, people are not only tired, they are frustrated," he lamented.
"We have mental health challenges in this country," he added.
We are sure of that ...
'Mental health is health, period'
This is tricky terrain for the media as well as the people involved.
There are stigmas associated with mental health conversations.
But we are seeing that change, day by day, story after story.
On Monday, for example, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed concern over a series of recent suicides among troops, saying that "mental health is health, period. And we have to approach it with the same energy that we apply to others. - to any other health problem - with compassion, professionalism and resources. So if you are suffering, there are resources available. "
That brings me to Tuesday and the Tokyo breaking news ...
Athletes, celebrities and brands rushed to support Biles, who burst into tears as he explained his decision.
"I have to focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being," the athlete said, adding: "It just sucks when you're fighting with your own head."
At least she's not alone, and that's a laudable change.
"When I was competing, there were really no resources and mental health was not really an argument," Aly Raisman told Christiane Amanpour later that day.
"Part of being great is recognizing when you can't be great. Biles has shown the world what true strength looks like," wrote USA Today columnist Suzette Hackney.
Children in contact with green areas are healthier 1:11
Of course, opponents like Piers Morgan had predictable things to say about Biles.
Morgan tweeted: "Are 'mental health issues' now the excuse for any poor performance in elite sport? What a joke. Just admit you did it wrong, you made mistakes, and you will strive to do better next time."
Darren Rovell responded, "I'd rather have my daughter and sons learn that even the oldest, on the biggest stage, have mental health issues, than emulate perfection."
Simone Biles and the Twisties: How Fear Affects Gymnasts' Mental Health and Physical Safety
"What you're seeing is a younger generation setting boundaries around what mental health is and what they owe to the audience," Tony Reali said on ESPN, specifically about Biles.
Reali has been honest about having generalized anxiety disorder.
"Mental health is just health," he tweeted after "Around the Horn."
He said mental health doesn't discriminate, but "the way we talk does."
Hopefully we are seeing that change in real time, on days like today.
Celebrities Who Have Revealed Their Struggle With Mental Illness
'January 6 is not over yet for me'
"More than six months later, January 6 is still not over for me," Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn said Tuesday during the House Select Committee hearing, describing his need for counseling therapy. " for the lingering emotional trauma of that day. "
Dunn used his nationally televised exposure for good, telling fellow officers, "There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional advice. What we went through that day was traumatic."
They show a new video of insurrection in the Capitol 5:10
At just the right time, right-wing voices like Tucker Carlson and Jesse Kelly mocked Dunn and other men who shared their emotions in the audience, with a special scorn reserved for Adam Schiff and Adam Kinzinger.
But the reactions also prompted their own immediate retraction ...
For the record
- I think Vice's Alexis Johnson said it best Tuesday night: "The fact that anyone can dare to criticize anyone's state of mental health during this hellish pandemic amazes me."
- CNBC offered this: "How do you know if you need to take a break to take care of your mental health and what you look like? Here's what you need to know ..." (CNBC)
- "There's a full HBO documentary specifically on the mental health cost of being an Olympian," noted NPR's Linda Holmes, recommending last year's movie "The Weight of Gold" with Michael Phelps ... ( Twitter)
- Phelps, Naomi Osaka and now Biles: This "could mark a new era of mental health awareness among athletes ..." (TIME)