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Tuesday, February 05, 2019

The Advice That DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love Provided Regarding Mental Health Awareness Should Not be Forgotten

Last year around this time, Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan bravely brought their mental health issues to the public. DeRozan made his revelation on Twitter: "This depression get the best of me..." DeRozan's admission inspired Love to write an article for The Players' Tribune titled Everyone is Going Through Something.

Buoyed by a positive public response to his tweet, DeRozan gave an interview to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star during which DeRozan elaborated on his condition: "I always have various nights. I've always been like that since I was young, but I think that's where my demeanor comes from. I'm so quiet, if you don't know me. I stay standoffish in a sense, in my own personal space, to be able to cope with whatever it is you've got to cope with...My mom always told me: Never make fun of anybody because you never know what that person is going through. Ever since I was a kid, I never did. I never did. I don't care what shape, form, ethnicity, nothing. I treat everybody the same. You never know."

DeRozan explained to Smith why he suddenly made his revelation: "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."

Love took DeRozan's words to heart and wrote at length about his challenges: 
One of the reasons I wanted to write this comes from reading DeMar's comments last week about depression. I've played against DeMar for years, but I never could've guessed that he was struggling with anything. It really makes you think about how we are all walking around with experiences and struggles--all kinds of things--and we sometimes think we're the only ones going through them. The reality is that we probably have a lot in common with what our friends and colleagues and neighbors are dealing with. So I'm not saying everyone should share all their deepest secrets--not everything should be public and it's every person's choice. But creating a better environment for talking about mental health...that's where we need to get to.

Because just by sharing what he shared, DeMar probably helped some people--and maybe a lot more people than we know--feel like they aren't crazy or weird to be struggling with depression. His comments helped take some power away from that stigma, and I think that's where the hope is...
I want to end with something I'm trying to remind myself about these days: Everyone is going through something that we can't see.
I want to write that again: Everyone is going through something that we can't see.
The thing is, because we can't see it, we don't know who's going through what and we don't know when and we don't always know why. Mental health is an invisible thing, but it touches all of us at some point or another. It's part of life. Like DeMar said, "You never know what that person is going through.
It took a lot of courage for DeRozan and Love to open up like that. They had nothing to gain, and potentially a lot to lose due to the stigma that still exists about mental illness--not to mention the stigma in our society about any male admitting to feeling vulnerable and/or to expressing his emotions.

It is important that the dialogue they began last year keeps going, and that anyone who is having a problem feels comfortable and safe about seeking help.

A lot of useful information about various mental health issues can be found at https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/

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posted by David Friedman @ 12:40 AM



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