Ku­dos to Love on rais­ing aware­ness

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Opinion - Read the full ed­i­to­rial from the Can­ton Re­pos­i­tory at bit. ly/2ImH0qW

“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.” ...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.