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Olympian advocates for youth mental health awareness

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WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Today’s middle and high school students often face more pressure than students faced just 10 years ago, that’s why one Olympic Athlete is sharing her fight with mental health to students across the Ohio Valley.

More than half of all mental illness cases start at just 14 years old, and 75 percent at 24. Ohio valley Olympic athlete Amy Gamble was part of that statistic and struggled to cope with her illness.

The first thing that I talk about is that dreams do come true. So, even though I struggled early on in my career, that I was still able to persevere through that and become an Olympic Athlete. Than after that passed and I started struggling with Bi-polar disorder, I was able to recover and get through difficult times, even though I’ve been through some difficult stuff.

AMY GAMBLE- EXEC. DIR. NAMI GREATER WHEELING

But now she’s educating kids by sharing her story. Giving them inspiration and hope.

My main mission is to let people know that it’s o.k. to get help. It’s o.k. to talk about it. And that you can be an Olympic Athlete and still have a Mental Illness.

AMY GAMBLE- EXEC. DIR. NAMI GREATER WHEELING

Amy says it’s important for kids in middle and high school to know that it’s okay to talk openly about mental illness. And they couldn’t agree more.

We hope that they become comfortable with speaking to adults and that they know that mental illness is o.k. and that they can overcome it.

JULIE BROUSSARD – 8TH GRADE, ULMS

That they can find help and they know who to come to if they’re dealing with this stuff.

SYDNEY MCFARLAND – 8TH FRADE, ULMS

Union local High School principal Zac Shutler says by showing kids it’s okay to speak up, our community will become a safer environment for everyone.

I think it’s good to bring people in from the outside to share that message and convey those things to our students and really to get comfortable with the whole mental health process. That it’s o.k. to talk about it. It’s o.k. to seek out answers. It’s o.k. to ask for help and ask people in the building that can be there for them.

ZAC SHUTLER- ULHS PRINCIPAL

Amy plans to continue to visit schools across the Ohio valley and share her story because she believes early intervention is the best way to ensure the best outcome and to break the stigma surrounding mental health.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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