With Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love recently opening up about his personal mental health issues, and Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan responding by revealing he has dealt with depression, the topic of mental health is at the forefront for the NBA.
The Los Angeles Lakers have experience in dealing with mental health issues from their time with Metta World Peace. After the 2010 NBA Finals, World Peace thanked his psychologist for helping him, and he has since become a major spokesperson for mental health awareness.
The Lakers and owner Jeanie Buss have learned from this experience and Buss, in an interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, revealed that she believes team’s 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. “That’s the next level of care.”
The NBA and the Player’s Union are currently working to create a more comprehensive mental health program to help the players which is a big step in the right direction. It can be difficult for players to open up, but teams and the league as a whole should do everything possible to ensure that options are available.
Thanks to their experiences with World Peace, the Lakers are out in front on the subject. They have worked with UCLA Health to provide a number of options for their players as well as guaranteeing confidentiality.
The fact is, players deal with a lot of things that the general public is unaware of and it can be necessary for some to need the help of a psychologist to simply get some things off their chest. The NBA helping with this is a no-lose situation.
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