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Naomi Osaka continues mental health journey with new partnership: ‘Let’s try to remove the stigma and help’

Naomi Osaka continues mental health journey with new partnership: ‘Let’s try to remove the stigma and help’

Nearly a year after withdrawing from the French Open to prioritize her mental health, Naomi Osaka is doing her part to continue raising awareness and destigmatize mental health care.

Osaka, 23, recently spoke to FOX Business about her own mental health journey since she first broke her silence in May 2021.

“After speaking up, my view on expressing the need for a break or space or help really changed,” Osaka said. “Speaking up allowed me such freedom and a sense of relief, and the outpouring from others about their own struggles made me feel less alone.”

Osaka sparked a firestorm last year when she announced she was going to skip her press conferences for the French Open, citing mental health concerns.

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Naomi Osaka of Japan poses with her trophy after defeating Ashleigh Barty of Australia in the women’s final at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing Oct. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein / AP Images)

Tournament organizers found the tennis pro for failing to “honor her contractual media obligations.” Osaka later announced she would be withdrawing from the tournament altogether to focus on her mental health and not serve as a distraction to her fellow competitors.

Since then, athletes from around the globe shared similar stories to bring attention to the issue, and Osaka hasn’t let up on her mission to continue spreading the word.

She recently partnered with Modern Health, a mental health platform that aims to destigmatize the conversation and increase accessibility of mental health services for all.

She told FOX Business that the decision to work together was “simple.”

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Naomi Osaka

Japan’s Naomi Osaka returns the ball to Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig during their first-round match of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros stadium May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena / AP Images)

“Let’s try to remove the stigma and help people have the conversation,” Osaka said, adding she’s incorporated the app within her own skincare company, KINLÒ.

“After working together behind the scenes and developing my role as chief community health advocate, I realized just how many people need someone to advocate for them in this space. Too often, people want the help of a professional and hesitate to speak out or just don’t know how to find it.”

As part of her role, Osaka helped develop her own meditation tools, a practice she uses in her own mental health care.

Naomi Osaka Serena Williams

Naomi Osaka of Japan reacts after defeating Serena Williams in the women’s final of the US Open tennis tournament Sept. 8, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki / AP Newsroom)

“Meditation is something I got into during COVID, and I really find it helpful. At first, it was really difficult for me to focus and disconnect. But the more I tried and developed my practice, the more I saw just how grounded it made me,” she explained.

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When asked about advice for anyone dealing with their own struggles, Osaka explained that everyone’s journey is different, but she suggested finding “resources and ask for help. You won’t ever regret it.”

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