Depression in Youth: An Olympic Athlete’s Story

olympia 1543733 1280When we think of Olympic athletes, we see them as almost god-like figures. The things they achieve seem impossible and amazing. In reality, we often forget that they are regular hard working people, similar to many of us. Many of them have personal struggles. Allison Schmitt, an Olympic swimming champion, recently spoke out on the stigma on depression in youth. An article by ESPN discusses her story with depression and highlights on her talk about the importance of eliminating the stigma on depression.

Allison Schmitt Opens Up About Depression in Youth

Allison Schmitt recently opened up her story of depression. After the Olympic games in London, she battled with multiple symptoms that are common to those found in depression. She states that people always saw her as an upbeat, regular girl who just happened to swim fast. She often hid behind false smiles because that’s what people expected of her, to be this upbeat girl.
Allison didn’t understand why she was dealing with depression, she had great friends, a supportive family, and a top-shelf training group. She tried to push through the pain she felt, which is what many individuals do when they are battling with depression. Allison’s pain didn’t go away, it just continued to get worse.

Schmitt’s Experience with Depression

Many of the symptoms found in depression that Allison was experiencing included: interrupted sleep; she often woke up crying or laughing for no reason. For months Allison held in her issues of depression, constantly battling thoughts of suicide. It wasn’t until her cousin—a fellow Olympic athlete—committed suicide that she finally realized she needed help and needed to publicize the issues with the stigma on depression in youth.
Allison states:

“I knew this was a time that I could save the next person who was struggling, the next person who thinks their life is not worth it.”

Athletes, especially athletes dealing with depression, can resist seeking help because they’re so conditioned to project images of strength and tenacity. Many are worried about what their coaches and teammates will thing; they worry if it will affect their playing time. Which is why Allison is fighting for all athletes, to break the stigma of depression in youth.
If your child is battling with depression in youth, there are programs available that can help.

Trails Carolina Can Help

Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for struggling teens, ages 10-17. Our students commonly deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, trauma, and other behavioral challenges.
For more information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303 today!

Posted in
Avatar of Jeremy Whitworth

Jeremy Whitworth

As Executive Director at Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness therapy program for youth and teens, I oversee operations and collaborate with our leadership team. Since 2022, I've also hosted the Common Ground Podcast for parents: With a background in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education, I've managed adventure-based therapeutic programs across the US and Canada. My experiences in competitive athletics and adventure sports have honed my leadership, risk assessment, and decision-making skills, which I apply to running a successful business like Trails Carolina.

Get started today

Contact us today to learn how Trails Carolina can help your family

Contact Us LP

Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


Discover If Trails Is The Right Program For Your Child

Take our short online assessment and help us better understand how we can help your family.

A teen stands at the meeting point of two trails in the forest, one leading higher towards the light and one leading down into darkness

Top 5 Common Myths About Wilderness Therapy For Youth: Understanding The History and Today’s Reality

Today, families have access to supportive, safe, and nurturing therapeutic treatment programs. Modern wilderness therapy programs, like Trails Carolina, are far from the punitive boot camps they are often portrayed as. 
A red-headed young woman sits on a hilltop overlooking forested mountains in front of her.

Treatment For Anxiety In Teens: How Wilderness Therapy Can Help

At Trails Carolina, we will give your child the skills to manage anxiety in real-time as soon as they arrive on our campus. They will very quickly gain a sense of belonging at Trails because of the sense of community that naturally occurs with the other students who are dealing with the common struggles of learning to manage adolescent anxiety.
Treating Oppositional Defiant Disorder - A teen boy in a beanie and a sweatshirt glowers at the viewer in the woods.

Dealing with Defiance: Six Tips for Decreasing Defiant Behavior

Most parents know what is like to live with a defiant teenager. Teens often feel inclined to push buttons and test the limits enforced upon them. This can be extremely frustrating for parents and create a constant power struggle within the home. The teenage years are when one is trying to figure out where they…
family reuniting - trails carolina reviews
Trails Carolina’s wilderness camps for troubled teens are dedicated to helping teens work through behavioral or emotional difficulties, build trusting relationships with their family and peers, and achieve academic success.