Naomi Osaka + Modern Health

Naomi Osaka joins Modern Health as Chief Community Health Advocate in mission to destigmatize and make excellent mental health care more accessible 

Modern Health, a leading global workplace mental health platform, recently announced four-time Grand Slam winner, Naomi Osaka, is joining forces with the company to raise further awareness and destigmatize mental health care, especially among younger generations and marginalized communities. As part of her role, Osaka will serve as the Chief Community Health Advocate of Modern Health’s community impact program focused on giving back, Modern Community. Osaka will work closely with Modern Health to build the program and support organizations yet to be named with a focus on three main pillars of change: training and empowering underrepresented providers, improving access to evidence-based mental health care, and promoting community mental health and well-being.

The three pillars stem directly from a shared mission between Modern Health and Osaka to build stronger communities through access to diverse and stigma-free mental health care. One of the first initiatives to come to life as part of this partnership is the release of the first of several, personalized meditation tools developed and narrated by Osaka and made available publicly to Modern Health members and non-members alike. Meditation is one of several tools Osaka adopted in the last year to support her mental health, but like many others, it wasn’t something she came to naturally, which is why she’s developed her own meditation based on introductory methods to ease people into the process and make care more accessible to all.

Modern Health Founder and CEO Alyson Watson (Left) and professional tennis player Naomi Osaka (Right) ahead of their partnership

“I came more recently to meditation and although now I find it to be very helpful, I didn’t at first.  The reason is that I didn’t like listening to the sound of my own breath – it would just make me more nervous,” comments Osaka.  “I’ve now learned that there are many different ways to pay attention to your breath and alongside Modern Health’s clinical team I have created this meditation for those people who are perhaps unsure of meditation or newer to this practice. I want everyone to have the opportunity to start somewhere.”

This action-oriented partnership will continue to evolve by selecting key organizations to support each pillar of the program. Modern Health and Naomi have already collaborated at events including the Play Academy, aimed at empowering girls through play and sport, to teach the younger generation key mental health skills. Additionally, to address the lack of diversity in mental health providers – data from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) shows that only 3 percent of the estimated 110,000 psychologists in the U.S. are Black – Osaka and Modern Health plan to identify and partner with organizations that train and empower BIPOC mental health caregivers.

“We are incredibly excited and humbled to have Naomi join the Modern Health family and become part of our important mission,” said Alyson Watson, Founder & CEO of Modern Health. “Naomi’s bravery in publicly sharing her own struggles has already helped to destigmatize and reframe the conversation around mental health for the next generation to be more open and vulnerable. Together, we will combine Modern Health’s clinical expertise and Naomi’s incredible voice, vulnerability, and influence to continue to drive positive change around mental wellness for individuals across the world.”

Just a year ago, in May 2021, Naomi made international headlines when she voluntarily withdrew from the French Open, citing a need to preserve and prioritize her own mental health and emotional wellbeing. Since then, Naomi has taken active steps to support her own mental health and this partnership with Modern Health is the latest evolution of her mental health journey. Modern Health and Naomi developed a relationship towards the end of last year with Naomi becoming an investor and Board Observer in the company earlier this year. 

“More and more people across the world are struggling with mental health and in taking a stand to protect my own last year, I inadvertently ignited a public conversation. Since then I’ve not only focused on my own mental health including meditating as well as starting to see a therapist, but I’ve also realized my own experience can help others. My goal is to empower others to not be hesitant to seek the help they need,” said Osaka. “It was an easy decision to join Modern Health. We are aligned in our passion to support our communities, and as an entrepreneur myself, I was inspired by the strong leadership under Alyson. Together, I believe we can start to erase some of the stigma and normalize conversations about mental health so people feel empowered to seek help when they need it.”

Osaka has rolled out Modern Health to the entire workforce at her skincare company, KINLO, as well as her wider support team to prioritize their individual needs and empower them to be the best version of themselves.

For more information about Modern Health, visit modernhealth.com.

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