Objectives: The primary objectives of the study were to (i) establish the 12-month incidence and comorbidity of symptoms of mental health disorders (distress, anxiety/depression, sleep disturbance, alcohol misuse, disordered eating) among Dutch former elite athletes and (ii) explore the potential relationship with the stressors involuntary retirement, recent life events, career dissatisfaction. The secondary objective was to investigate whether the incidence of symptoms of mental health disorders and their potential relationship with stressors are related to duration since retirement. Methods: An observational prospective cohort study with a 12-month follow-up was conducted among Dutch former elite athletes. Symptoms of mental health disorders and potential stressors were assessed using validated questionnaires. Results: A total of 282 participants were included at baseline and 193 completed follow-up. The incidence ranged from 7% for alcohol misuse to 28% for anxiety/depression. Comorbidity of two or three symptoms of mental health disorders was reported in 7% and 4%, respectively. Adverse life events were significantly related to disordered eating (RR = 1.30, 95%CI = 1.05-1.61), while career dissatisfaction also showed a significant relationship with disordered eating (RR = 3.98, 95%CI = 1.32-11.99) and sleep disturbance (RR = 3.23, 95%CI = 1.10-9.51). The stressor involuntary retirement did not have a significant relationship with any symptoms of mental health disorders. The effect of duration since retirement seemed to be most present in the first 15 years since athletic career retirement in the plotted graphs. Conclusions: The 12-month incidence of symptoms of mental health disorders ranged from 7% to 28% and comorbidity of symptoms of mental health disorders was present in 12%. Adverse life events and career dissatisfaction only increased the risk of certain symptoms of mental health disorders. Duration since retirement might affect the incidence of symptoms of mental health disorders and its relationship with stressors in the first 15 years.