Sarah Carli concedes mental health was never her top priority as an athlete.
That was until she suffered a life-threatening injury in the gym earlier this year and suddenly her Olympic dream appeared over.
As she faced the devastation of seeing years of hard work washed away in an instant, suddenly mental health came into focus.
Carli ultimately defied the odds - and doctors expectations - to make it to Tokyo and compete in the 400-metre hurdles and credits the support structure around her for helping her get there.
Having recognised the importance of mental health, the 27-year-old is looking to help the next generation of athletes by becoming an ambassador for the AIS Black Dog Mental Fitness Program.
"After everything that happened with my accident, I had to do a lot of mental fitness and practice a lot of strategies," Carli said. "That was one of the key things that got me through this year.
"I had access to immediate support from Athletics Australia, a lot of kids don't have access to the things that I did. This is a way of sharing my stories and hopefully doing it in a way that's relatable to the kids so they can take something away from it."
Carli will share her experiences with school children and emerging athletes across the Illawarra as part of a formal program provided by the Black Dog Institute.
The initiative will see youngsters learn the strategies required to maintain their mental health and the measures they can take if it starts to deteriorate.
The ultimate goal is for adolescents to view mental health as important as physical health.
"The Black Dog Institute has partnered with the AIS to deliver the mental fitness program in a way that's relatable to kids and athletes,'' she said.
"I'll weave my story and experiences into the program. There's two presentations the kids do; the first one we introduce all the different tools and strategies. For the second, the kids have access to the Bite Back program on the Black Dog website and that's a six-week challenge. Then we come back and discuss things they've learnt."
While still focused on her mental health, Carli has spent the past few months rebuilding her physical fitness following a post-Olympics holiday.
A return to racing is not far away, with the hurdles to follow after Christmas.
With both the World Championships and Commonwealth Games taking place next year, Carli is determined to run a qualifying time and ensure a stress-free build-up to the events.
"Training's going really well. The first month back was a bit of a punish, especially after two weeks of hotel quarantine but I've been training really well and I'm starting to build momentum,'' she said.
"I'd love to get my World Championships and Commonwealth Games qualifiers done early in the domestic season so we don't have to go chasing times. That's the biggest goal and we'll go from there because it's a bit of an unknown what my fitness levels are like at the moment."