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May 2, 2021

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80% more Aussie athletes seek mental health help

The Australian Institute of Sport, the country’s elite sports training center, has recorded a nearly 80 percent spike in demand for its mental health referral network in the leadup to the Tokyo Olympics.

The AIS said there was a 79 percent increase in demand for the referral network at the start of 2021 compared with the same period last year.

The impact of COVID-19 was the primary or secondary issue in about 80 percent of the referrals but Games preparation and selection, work stress and general wellbeing were also among the key themes, the AIS said.

“It has been an extended wait for these Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics and excitement is no doubt building as the Games countdown continues,” AIS Chief Executive Peter Conde said in a statement.

“It’s natural, however, that there will also be anxiety given the unique and complex preparation for these Games as well as the shifting environments here and abroad.” The Olympics, which were postponed by a year due to the pandemic, start on July 23.

A Japanese cabinet minister has said the country would declare “short and powerful” states of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka and two other prefectures as the country struggles to contain a resurgent pandemic.


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