NBA Mind Health Initiative: How Is It Going?

nba mind health awareness

Basketball is one of the biggest sports in the world and its fan base is growing each year. However, from a fan’s point of view, it is really hard to know what athletes are dealing with and all the things that are happening off the court.

The sport started back in 1861, but a lot has changed since then. We have new technologies that make the sport more entertaining, safer, and more available for fans. With that said, the NBA plays a crucial role in the development of basketball, which is proven by their Mind Health Initiative.

2018 was a big year for addressing mental health problems, after many athletes like DeMar DeRozan, Kevin Love, and Keyon Dooling open up about mental health issues that they are experiencing.

This sparked a chain reaction and many other players decided to highlight this problem in the sport hoping that they will come up with a solution. The heavily dense schedule, intense training and matches, and a lot of attention made professional NBA plays deal with anxiety and depression.

Fortunately, the National Basketball Association heard the problem and decide to make some changes. The same year, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) launched a mental health wellness program that had greater access to mental health counsellors.

Over the last couple of years, the NBA Mental Health program made some crucial changes in the league by introducing new rules that are designed to reduce the risk of mental health problems for professional athletes.

The NBA regularly hosts mandatory health and wellness meetings for team executives and they are discussing some changes that can help athletes build stronger mental health.

They also changed the rules of the game requiring teams to add at least one full-time licensed mental health professional (a psychologist or behavioural therapist) to join their staff. They are also required to retain licensed psychiatrists to assist players when needed.

The goal of the NBA’s mental health program is to make sure that players are well informed about their rights, obligations, and responsibilities, which can help them deal with mental health issues.

Most mental health issues come from the constant pressure from the “short careers”, as the NBA officials say. Also, about the madness of the transfer and trade rumors, as you can read here:

Players are fully aware of the reality of the business of basketball, and they do understand that the average NBA career for ballers is about four to five years. Every athlete will go through ups and downs in their professional journey which can be devastating for their mental health.

The only way to battle mental health issues is by giving players access to all the tools that will help them better understand their situation. This is the main goal of the NBA Mind Health Initiative, which is why they made some changes in the league allowing players to get better access to mental health professionals.

This initiative helps players develop and appreciate the value of maintaining a healthy support system from the people around them such as family and friends.

May was Mental Health Awareness Month, and the NBA launched a campaign that encouraged players to seek help or find a way to improve their mental health.

The mental health association is based on four core pillars M.I.N.D

  • More than the illness continuum. Your mental health situation is more than illness and it is more than feeling great today. It is more about taking care of yourself on a regular basis.
  • Inclusive Factors – Your mental health is shaped by everything you experience. What affects one person, may not affect others.
  • Multiple Narratives – There are two different components to mental health – “Individual” and “Social”. This means that you should not only address your wellness but also support others around you.
  • Defined relationships with performance – Your mental health is a core element of your performance.

The National Basketball Association is working hard for finding the solution for this mental health problem for athletes, and all of these associations, wellness programs, and adopting new rules seem like it is working.

The mental health issue cannot be addressed overnight. It will take years, and new generations until we have mentally strong athletes with all the necessary tools at their disposal.

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