An NBA player has to be mindful of his health to play his best.
Sometimes that means extra stretches, targeted exercise, specialized meal plans.
It also means taking care of your mental health.
“When we have diabetes, we go get treated. When we tear our ACL, we go get surgery,” current Utah Jazz assistant coach Keyon Dooling wrote in the Players Tribune in 2018. “But if our heart is broken, or if our soul is hurting what do we do?”
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the NBA, the Utah Jazz, and University of Utah Health, the trusted healthcare provider of the Utah Jazz, want to address and end the stigmas surrounding mental health.
Throughout the month, the league will continue to highlight the importance of mental health, an issue that has been a focus of the league in recent years thanks to the courage of players like Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan have shown in sharing stories of their own struggles.
The league’s Mind Health program was created more than three years ago. The NBA and National Basketball Players Association provide myriad resources for any player who may be experiencing challenges or simply wants an outlet to talk.
Dooling, who joined the Jazz staff this season, previously worked as a player wellness counselor for the NBPA.
“The Mental Health and Wellness program is designed to meet guys where they are emotionally and mentally,” Dooling has said of the efforts. We’re in a stressful business. We’ve experienced a lot on our journeys to get here and I believe a lot of guys haven’t processed that. …
“In order to get to the next level sometimes, you have to drop that baggage off and get the tools to manage it. I think the Mental Health and Wellness program is something that really allows guys to soar. The more information and the more knowledge we have around mental health, we can really shift the narrative so people won’t be afraid or fearful to seek help.”