ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Michigan’s Athletes Connected program released a new video on Tuesday about U-M swimming alum G Ryan, who describes their mental health journey through depression, anxiety and gender dysphoria.
This video focuses on five-time Big Ten champion and four-time All-American swimmer G Ryan, who identifies as a non-binary person and previously swam on the U-M women’s team.
Before arriving in Ann Arbor, Ryan already struggled with depression and anxiety. While competing for Michigan, Ryan began to battle negative body image in a unique way unrelated to nutrition.
“It was something else,” Ryan said. “Dysphoria related to my gender identity, and I didn’t know how to deal with it.”
“There wasn’t one clear, direct path to feeling like my best self. It took time, a lot of trial and error, and a willingness to ask for help, even when I wasn’t exactly sure what I needed.”
After attending Athletes Connected wellness groups, consulting with a counselor in the athletic department and a psychiatrist at University Health Service, Ryan eventually saw another counselor outside of U-M. Ryan made balancing the demands of student-athlete life and personal life a priority to craft a necessary support system.
Ryan found their place at U-M’s Spectrum Center, which aids Michigan students in the LGBTA community and “envisions an inclusive campus community free of discrimination in all forms where social justice inspires community engagement and equity.”
“There wasn’t one clear, direct path to feeling like my best self,” Ryan says in the film. “It took time, a lot of trial and error, and a willingness to ask for help, even when I wasn’t exactly sure what I needed.”
Ryan graduated this spring with a bachelor’s in English and in Women’s Studies. They currently serve as an education and training program specialist at the Spectrum Center.
About Athletes Connected
Formed in 2014 on an NCAA pilot grant by a collaboration of University of Michigan Depression Center, Athletics and School of Public Health, Athletes Connected actively works to provide student-athletes with the tools and resources possible to support student-athletes along the continuum of wellbeing. Athletes Connected does this by promoting awareness of mental health issues, reducing the stigma of help-seeking and promoting positive coping skills among student-athletes. To learn more about the program, view the entire catalog of videos, read original stories and access helpful resources for student-athletes and non-athletes alike.