In recent weeks, several NBA players have spoken out about mental health, paving the way for boys and men to care for their mental health and to seek support when necessary.
DeMar DeRozan reached out through a cryptic Tweet: “This depression got the best of me,” which, although it was a song lyric, was a way of letting fans know how he was feeling. The Tweet sparked an international conversation and led to DeRozan sharing more about his childhood growing up in Compton, CA and his personal challenges: “It’s not nothing I’m against or ashamed of. Now, at my age, I understand how many people go through it. Even if it’s just somebody can look at it like, ‘He goes through it and he’s still out there being successful and doing this,’ I’m OK with that.”
Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers noted in a moving personal essay in The Players’ Tribune: “If you’re suffering silently like I was, then you know how it can feel like nobody really gets it. Partly, I want to do it for me, but mostly, I want to do it because people don’t talk about mental health enough. And men and boys are probably the farthest behind.”
Kelly Oubre, Jr. of the Washington Wizards said he related “100 percent” to Love and DeRozan, and shared about his relationship with his father as a resilience factor in his life. "It's just that peace of mind, that mental stability he gives me just by seeing him. He doesn't even have to say anything. I just see him. I feel like we've been through it all. This little piece of adversity, it's not going to hurt me. I will be able to get through it."
“The traditional advice of ‘suck it up’ is hopefully crumbling in the face of well-respected, high-profile figures saying ‘No, this affected me, too, and I sought help and benefitted from it,’” noted Simon Rego, chief psychologist at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
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For Further Reading:
- Raptors’ DeRozan hopes honest talk on depression helps others (Toronto Star)
- How NBA Stars Destigmatize Mental Health (Forbes.com)
- NBA stars join fight against stigma surrounding mental illness (CNN.com)
- DeMar DeRozan, Kevin Love help NBA start conversation about mental health (NBA.com)
- Kelly Oubre Jr. joins NBA players sharing mental health struggles: ‘We’re normal people, man’ (Washington Post)
- Everyone is going through something': NBA star Kevin Love reveals panic attack (Today.com)
- How the NBA Finally Learned to Start Taking Mental Health Seriously (The Daily Beast)
- Top Athletes and Community Health Experts Explore Resiliency at Total Health Forum (Kaiser Permanente.org)