Hey, Cleveland!

Game 1 against the Toronto Raptors was the stuff dreams and nightmares are made of depending on the moment. I was beyond stressed and screaming things I’m glad my mom could not hear. (Unfortunately, all my windows and doors were open, so my brand new next-door neighbors did. (If they didn’t know that they bought a house next to a rabid Cleveland Sports fan, they do now.)

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In the excitement of the game, you may have missed the PSA released by the NBA to acknowledge the fact that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It featured Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan speaking from personal experience about the commonality of emotional struggles. The 30-second piece may have swished past your radar faster than a buzzer-beating shot, so here (in part) is the excerpt.

“I think everyone walks around with something you can’t see,” Love says in the 30-second spot.
“We all go through it. I don’t care who you are,” DeRozan says.
Then, they implored the benefits of seeking help for mental health.
“The best thing that I did was to come out and say, ‘Hey look, I need some help,’ ” Love says.
“Never be ashamed of wanting to be a better you, period,” DeRozan says.

The PSA was put together well before we knew that the two men would face each other in Round 2 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. I, for one, am glad the cards were dealt like this, maybe there are no accidents in life.

Love and DeRozan have star power as NBA players and the public platform to promote almost anything they want. Combined, in a game of this caliber, the message is loud and clear. Mental illness is just that, an illness. It does not mean you are weak or any less of a person. I would be hard-pressed to imagine a world where everyone struggling with high blood pressure was given sideways glances and felt ashamed of the problem.

My point here echoes Love and DeRozan’s – if you have emotional struggles you are not alone, and you have no reason to feel shame. Approximately 16.1 million adults the U.S. experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year. A staggering 40 million adults have some type of anxiety disorder. I’ll say it again if you are struggling with a mental disorder, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

I’m not qualified to make medical referrals, but I’ll leave you with this: the link to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America website. https://adaa.org/about-adaa.

If Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan are bold enough to share their struggles with the world, maybe others can find the strength to share theirs with a trusted confidant.

Image Credits heavy.com and cavsnation.com

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