For immediate help, call the Toll-Free National Suicide Prevention Life Line if you have a crisis 1-800-273-Talk (8255), Which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential.
A former top medical officer of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee has been making harsh complaints about the organization’s mental health management. Dr Bill Moreau alleges that he was released last May, partly to retaliate against accusations that former Olympians like Michael Phelps were outspoken.
Moreau then filed a lawsuit, stating that he had been wrongfully terminated.
Phelps said USOPC should have done more to address mental health, suggesting The Washington Post, “I don’t know what they did to help us with mental health-based.” The athlete is teaming up with Moreau, a chiropractor who has worked at the USOPC for 10 years. He gave the first TV interview to CBS News.
“Michael Phelps is right. And people should start to hear what he has to say about mental health,” Moreau says.
He told CBS News that he was fired for complaining about how the agency handled serious mental illness.
“You know, these Olympic and Paralympic athletes. They’re the sons and daughters of the United States of America. We like to say they are like the next person. That’s because they are. They are suffering from mental health problems like everyone else,” Moreau said.
Kelly Caitlin, an Olympic medalist, was surprised at what she said was the organization’s slow response to an athlete due to a crisis. While on medical leave in cycling in 2019, he took his own life.
“If you have a suicidal ideation, you need to be under the care of a psychiatrist,” Moriu says.
But Moreau says the USOPC’s approach is more appropriate for sports injuries than for mental illness.
“We’re trying to specialize in managing serious mental health ailments, and we don’t. If you have suicidal ideation, you need to be under the care of a psychiatrist” “
March 8, 2019, Caitlin took on a life of her own. His death prompted Moriou to send a memo to the USOPC leadership which he said was an ongoing issue. He says they are not mental disorders, but specialists for sports workers who use athletes to solve mental health issues. He said it was “a dangerous path to follow”. However Moreau says he has no response. Caitlin’s father said he did not know whether further support from the Olympic Committee could have saved Caitlin’s life.
Olympic champion Allison Smit, who has battled depression for years, tweeted that Caitlin’s death “broke my heart.” He said he was still struggling and the USOPC was not providing him with enough mental health support.
“Smit said there was life that was lost because there had been no change and it was extremely frustrating.
Moro says the USOPC is still focused on money and medals.
“They should take the same investment and protect it for the health and well-being of the athletes,” he said.
The USOPC did not respond to a request for an interview. But it said in a letter to its athletes last week, “In every case that Bill Moreau uses as an example against us, we have acted appropriately, promptly and in the best interest of the athlete.”