Naomi Osaka sets out to become a mental health champion

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka has set out to champion mental health by helping connect young people with resources including a course of meditations.

Osaka has had her struggles with mental health and knows more than most the importance of dissolving the stigma around seeking help.

She has also found that meditating has helped her handle what life throws her way.

Naomi Osaka has teamed up with Modern Health to put together a collection of children’s meditations.

“As I’ve gotten older, I have really relied more on meditation to help manage my feelings. I wish that I had utilized it more as a kid which is why I’m so excited to have children’s meditations available now kids of all ages,” she told PEOPLE.

“I love that I am able to help create resources for kids that weren’t available or common when I was a kid. I hope that kids are able to learn how to manage their feelings and emotions at an early age so that they can continue to use these tools later in life.”

Osaka’s openess about her struggles has prove an inspiration to many.

“It’s always really heartwarming when people tell me that I have helped them with their own struggles. I remember being in a grocery store one time and someone stopped me to tell me how much I meant to them as they were dealing with their own mental health struggles,” she shares. “At the time, I was doing it for myself but I realized that my decision to help myself was also helping many others.”

Licensed child clinical psychologist Dr. Sharon Adusei shared her belief that the openness of athletes like Osaka was something that could have a positive knock-on into young people’s lives.

“As kids and teens develop, they look to important figures in their life, some of which can include star athletes, family members and peers.

“What these important figures then model for kids and teens about the journey of mental health and how to care for your well-being and emotions sets the stage for what they internalize for their own mental health practices,” Dr. Adusei explains.

“So when emotional challenges arise, as they do for us all, kids and teens are more likely to have a part of themselves that says, ‘What would Naomi say or do in this moment?’

“They may begin internalizing more helpful narratives promoted by figures like Naomi such as ‘other kids go through these feelings too, you aren’t alone,’ ” she continued.

“Also, when parents support their children through their mental health journey by engaging in activities like meditations together, it can help foster a more positive and engaging environment that encourages building healthy habits.”

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