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Michael Phelps talks golf, mental health during pandemic

Phelps spoke about struggles with his own mental health during this time. To help others, Phelps donated 500 months of free therapy to the app TalkSpace.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Michael Phelps has called Arizona home for a while now. Since retiring from swimming in 2016, he has become a fixture in the Arizona swimming community, he's worked with the ASU Swim Team and he has even started a family here. 

Like most great athletes, when their careers are over, they golf, a lot. 

The most decorated Olympian of all time is no different. 

Phelps is a regular on the golf course and at the Waste Management Phoenix Open Pro-Am. On Monday, May 11, Phelps played in the Scottsdale AZ Open Pro-Am, alongside fellow celebrities Brian Urlacher, Johnny Manziel, Mason Cole and Kevin Streelman. 

It was the first time he has been out of his house in several weeks.

“This is probably going to be good for my mental,” Phelps said. “I’ll be the first to admit quarantine hasn’t been great for me. Many roller coaster and some scary moments. But I’m sure everybody is going through those times and it just shows how important mental health is.”

The pandemic has taken away his routine. 

“I feel it. I’m used to being able to go to the pool whenever I want to and have that therapy. Swimming is therapy for me. It’s the only time I’m perfectly quiet and I get to be in my own head. I’ve lived by a routine for 20+ years. I know how difficult it is when you have one little hiccup. We have to remember to stick to what we know, and try to do and stay as close to that schedule as we can.” 

To help others during this time, Phelps donated 500 months of free therapy to the app TalkSpace, which provides free mental health services to frontline medical workers.

Phelps opened up about his struggles with his own mental health in 2017 in an interview with Today and in 2019, when he partnered with TalkSpace. Since then, Phelps has been advocating for athletes and individuals to reach out when they need help. 

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