Saunders: From Attempted Suicide and Mental Health Institutions to Olympic Medal

The image of American Raven Saunders, with her arms in the form of a cross on the podium, was one of the strange shots at the Tokyo Olympics, but the strangest thing is the story of this heroine who attempted suicide, and underwent treatment in two mental health institutions before turning into the ranks of champions.

Saunders, 25, won the silver medal in the shot put – in athletics competitions – at the last Summer Olympics this year in the Japanese capital, Tokyo.

Saunders’ career at the tournament level began early, and she participated in the 2016 Rio Olympics, after winning the United States Championship, and her progress to become the second in the world rankings for the game.

But her life turned into hell after her injury in the 2017 World Cup final, which caused her to fall out of the top 8 after she was a leading candidate for a medal in the tournament.

This injury affected her psychologically more than physically, as she began to lose her confidence and question the acceptance of others and her future in athletics, and she says to herself: “I’m black, I’m in Mississippi.”

One morning at the end of January 2018, Saunders got into her car to end her life on the highway in Mississippi, where she lives. She plunged the car down a dangerous cliff to commit suicide, and was saved by a text message she sent to her therapist.

After a journey of treatment and mental correction, during which she underwent treatment in two mental health institutions, and a long sports rehabilitation program, Saunders returned to practicing her sport at a professional level, and said that “sports restored my balance, which gave me a lot of peace and happiness.”

She added that the delay of the Tokyo Olympics from 2020 to this year due to the Corona epidemic gave her enough time to recover well from injury, and set a record in the American trials of 19.96 meters.

Saunders has become a staunch advocate of mental health, trying to convey the juices of her life’s life-saving experience by inspiring others to believe in himself and his abilities.

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