Kudos to Love on raising awareness
“On November 5th, right after halftime against the Hawks, I had a panic attack.” So begins the first-person account Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star forward Kevin Love wrote last week in opening himself to the public and discussing personal mental health issues for the first time.
To which we say: Bravo, Mr. Love.
Titled “Everyone is Going Through Something” and appearing on the website The Players’ Tribune, where athletes can share insight and opinion, Love’s self-awareness and introspection put into words the thoughts and feelings millions of Americans experience every day.
Stark County Mental Health and Recovery reports mental disorders affect roughly one-quarter of all Americans. Let that sink in for a moment. More than 2 million Ohioans and upward of 200,000 children in our state.
We know from recent experiences in our schools that some kids in our community are dealing with serious mental health issues.
Love said he took the step of publicizing his experiences, which he traces back several years, with the hope it will allow others to see help is possible — help is available — for those struggling to overcome “injuries” not readily apparent. He described pain “as real as a broken hand or a sprained ankle.” Yet no one could see it.
“If you’re suffering silently like I was, then you know how it can feel like nobody really gets it,” he wrote. “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.”
To find mental health and addiction treatment resources, visit StarkMHAR.org/CareNetwork
Love identified one of the biggest obstacles mental health service providers face every day: a culture that equates mental health issues with weakness.
Get over it. Suck it up. What’s wrong with you? Be a man.
Before going public, Love wrote, he felt admitting his panic attack — he described himself “running from room to room, like I was looking for something I couldn’t find” — would be seen as a “form of weakness that could derail my success in sports or make me seem weird or different.”
Quite the contrary. Love joins a growing list of famous athletes and celebrities who have shared their stories publicly: swimmer Michael Phelps, NFL Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall, NBA AllStar Jerry West, rock singer Rick Springfield, Prince Harry, to name but a few. Talking begins the healing, each said.
Staff at Stark MHAR said each time a public figure comes forward, it can help others in the community gain the strength to seek help as well.
“Kevin Love’s article emphasizes the importance of raising awareness, of taking care of your mental health, and the importance of accessing treatment earlier,” agency Executive Director John Aller said. “The path to healing and recovery can start as soon as treatment begins.”
Love ended his open letter with these thoughts:
“This is an everyone thing. No matter what our circumstances, we’re all carrying around things that hurt — and they can hurt us if we keep them buried inside. Not talking about our inner lives robs us of really getting to know ourselves and robs us of the chance to reach out to others in need. So if you’re reading this and you’re having a hard time, no matter how big or small it seems to you, I want to remind you that you’re not weird or different for sharing what you’re going through.
“Just the opposite. It could be the most important thing you do. It was for me.” ...