"The challenge of taking care of our mental health through the ups and downs of life is something that all of us, no matter our background, can relate to," Venus Williams said

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Venus Williams
Credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

Venus Williams is helping mental health awareness in a big way.

This week, the tennis star announced her partnership with BetterHelp and the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) to provide $2 million toward free therapy. The initiative will help fund one month of free therapy offered through BetterHelp.

"The challenge of taking care of our mental health through the ups and downs of life is something that all of us, no matter our background, can relate to," Williams, 41, said in a statement

"Now more than ever, we need to create an accepting and open environment to seek professional mental health therapy, which is why I am so excited to partner with BetterHelp and the WTA to provide access to free therapy and help raise awareness," the athlete added.

There has been an increased focus on mental health in the world of tennis. Recently, Naomi Osaka began speaking publicly about her struggles with depression.

According to the WTA Tour, the first $1 million for the program is available now while the second $1 million will be "covered by BetterHelp for each ace hit by WTA players for the remainder of the 2021 WTA Tour season."

"We're thrilled to partner with Venus and the WTA to bring greater awareness and access to therapy," BetterHelp President Alon Matas said in a statement. "Especially today, it's important that we take care of our mental well-being, and therapy provides the space and time to do just that. We're incredibly excited to support the WTA's like-minded goals and partner with Venus to continue making therapy more accessible."

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The news comes the same week that Williams and her sister, Serena, withdrew from the US Open.

"Not the best news from Serena and I today. I, too, am unable to play the U.S. Open. It's super super super disappointing. Having some issues with my leg all this summer and just couldn't work through it," Venus shared on social media.

"I tried my best here in Chicago, but I just was unable to figure out the equation," she added. "And there's been so many times where I've been able to figure it out, even not in the best of my health, but this time, I just couldn't make any miracles work."

Those hoping to participate in Williams' initiative with the WTA and Betterhelp can do so here.