Deja Young
(USA): Mental Health & Choosing Life

Being a “non traditional athlete” with brachial plexus has never held Deja Young back. Even though her condition was caused by medical malpractice during her birth, this 2x Paralympic gold medalist (100m & 200m) says she wouldn’t change a thing if she could: she’s where she is today because of what she’s been through.

In this episode, we talk about what it was like growing up with brachial plexus (also called shoulder dystocia), explore how she got into running, and turn to Deja’s ongoing battles with mental health, including her attempted suicide. We end with Deja’s choice to be an outspoken advocate for mental health issues and her offer to be there for others so they never feel alone.

Thank you to Deja Young for her incredible honesty and leadership in mental health and suicide prevention.

NOTE: This episode contains themes that some people may find upsetting, including descriptions of depression and suicide.

Contributing experts include Delora Young (Deja’s Mom) and Professor Rosemary Purcell (Head of Elite Sports and Mental Health, University of Melbourne).

Audio from YouTube, ‘Athletics | Women’s 100m – T47 Final | Rio 2016 Paralympic Games’; PBS’s ‘The Americans with Disabilities Act at 30 years: What comes next?’

In Deja’s episode we promised to share support resources. Please note this list is not comprehensive, and nor does sharing links equate to endorsements; rather this is our attempt to amplify the important work being done and to help provide listeners with resources so they know they are not alone.

-Find your local helpline across international lines:
-Learn about Athletes for Hope and how athletes everywhere experience mental illness. Also watch Victoria Garrick of USC share her personal story in this TEDxUSC talk called Athletes and Mental Health: The Hidden Opponent:
-Learn about National Institute for Mental Health’s helplines and finding the right provider for you:
-Call 800-273-8255 24/7 to speak with someone via the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Learn more here:
-Text “NAMI” to 741741 for 24/7, confidential, free crisis counseling via the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Learn more here:

Deja Young – Flame Bearers

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