How many of you have read about Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player Kevin Love in the past month?
I’d like to give a shout out to him for publicly speaking up about his recent experiences with panic attacks and anxiety. And kudos to the Cavaliers organization, which encouraged Kevin to see a therapist. I hope several ex-team mates who weren’t so supportive are now aware that their anger may have been misplaced when Kevin missed game and practice time to take care of his mental health.
We never know what someone else may be going through. Kevin Love is not alone, as one in five adults and one in three youth in the U.S. experience mental health issues every year. That’s 20 percent of adults and 33 percent of young people. Do the math – many of you reading this have probably experienced something and I hope you were willing to ask for help. And if it wasn’t you, it may have been a friend or a family member, so I hope you were willing to offer help.
Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss believes that teams should be putting more focus on mental health. “We’ve invested in all these state-of-the-art facilities and cryogenic chambers, hydro pools and all that, but we haven’t focused on mental health,” Buss said in a recent interview with ESPN. “That’s the next level of care.”
While the topic of mental health is at the forefront for the NBA, I hope there will be carryover to every other facet of our society. Mental health disorders do not discriminate. Early identification and intervention are key to treatment for the best outcomes, allowing people to live up to their full potential. Often people don’t realize that their symptoms are caused by a mental health condition or they’re afraid or they feel ashamed to ask for help because of the stigma associated with mental illness. It’s up to all of us to know the signs and take action so that mental illnesses can be caught early and treated. Even though mental illnesses may require intensive, long-term treatment and a lot of hard work at the later stages, recovery is possible.
Remember, mental health conditions are not only common, they are treatable. There is a wide variety of treatment options for mental illnesses and it can take some time for a person to find the treatment plan that is right for them. But when they do, the results can be life changing.
We should all thank Kevin Love for bringing mental health issues into the light in Ohio. My hope is that many people follow his example and get the help they need.
Found in The Newark Advocate March 31,2018