Why Venus Williams' Approach to Mental Health Is the Winning Strategy Kids Need to Hear

·2 min read

To some, Venus Williams may appear to have it all.

She's arguably one of the greatest tennis players of all time and has several successful businesses including a clothing line and interior design company. But whether the 42-year-old is celebrating her accomplishments on the court or in the boardroom, Venus believes it wouldn't be possible without focusing on her mental health.

"If your mental health is not in a position that is allowing you to make you live your dreams and just live a regular life, then you aren't able to be happy," Venus exclusively shared with E! News. "Being happy is one of the most underrated feelings. When people think of what might make them happy, they might think jobs or money or more things, but those aren't the things that will make you happy. Just working on your general happiness makes you happy."

Throughout her childhood, Venus remembers mental health being a conversation in her family. According to the Olympic gold medalist, her parents prioritized things "that helped to make you happy" like being confident in yourself, not falling into peer pressure and having a strong support system.

Stars Who Took Steps to Prioritize Mental Health

For Venus, she was able to find that in her sister Serena Williams as they began dominating the tennis courts.

Serena Williams, Venus Williams
ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

"She's been my role model," Venus said. "No one knows more what I'm going through then she does. She's someone who understands me without even saying a word. I know that it's unusual to have a sibling in sports, but it is the only experience I know so I can't imagine not having one and from what I understand, 99 percent of people do it alone, but I never had to."

Now, the athlete is paying it forward by partnering with BetterHelp to provide up to $3 million worth of free therapy to those who need it.

"We want to continue to work on to destigmatize seeking professional help for mental well being and provide free therapy for everyone who needs it," she said. "Maybe getting help for mental health has been a stigma or maybe they don't have access to it. You can literally just go to the website and start speaking with a licensed therapist for one month free now."

When looking at the world of sports, Venus can't help but applaud Olympians and other athletes who have used their platform to speak out in support of mental health.

As for the fans who look up to them and feel the pressures to succeed, Venus has a priceless piece of advice.

"I would tell them to just be honest with themselves about what they're feeling and what they might be going through," she said. "Only in being honest can you start to take steps to succeed and to feel your best."

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