According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 Americans lives with a mental illness, ranging from children to adults. Even more worrisome, only 41 percent of those people received professional health care or other services.
The stigma around mental illness is no secret, and it is emphasized when you throw in sports and “toughness”.
Mental Illness has affected some of the worlds greatest athletes including Michael Phelps, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Serena Williams. However, the harsh reality is there a large number of athletes that are afraid to receive treatment due to fear of being called weak.
The NBA has always been one of the most innovative professional sports leagues, and they are setting another example for the sports world to follow as they have introduced an expanded set of mental health policies for this upcoming season.
Reportedly, all 30 teams received a memo with the following requirements.
- All teams must have at least one mental health professional on retainer. Each professional must have “experience in assessing and treating clinical mental health issues.”
- Each organization must “identify a licensed psychiatrist” available to help manage any mental health concerns.
- All teams must, “enact a written action plan for mental health emergencies.”
- All 30 teams need to attend a “health and wellness meeting” in Chicago in September.
This doesn’t directly affect Kentucky, but the effects of this movement will be felt in all levels of sports and will benefit future athletes in Kentucky blue and beyond.