NBA Players Kevin Love & DeMar DeRozan Speak Out Against Mental Illness Stigma

Sometimes a single moment of honesty and vulnerability is enough to inspire change, especially in a profession where invincibility is integral to success.

Last month, Toronto Raptors' basketball star DeMar DeRozan, tweeted "This depression get the best of me...," a prelude to an interview that came out last week in the Toronto Star. During his interview, DeRozan spoke candidly about his depression and anxiety, two issues he's had since childhood. It can be easy to dismiss the mental health struggles of a person who's famous, wealthy, and very successful-- but that's exactly why DeRozan felt it was important to share his story.

Referring to his depression, he said that "It’s not nothing I’m against or ashamed of. ... I understand how many people go through it."

DeRozan's honesty inspired the same in Kevin Love, forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers. In a powerful personal essay titled "Everyone is Going Through Something," published in the The Player's Tribune, Love recounts the panic attack that he had during a game against the Hawks. For Love, the worst part of the experience was not the panic attack itself, but afterwards wondering whether or not someone would find out that he was struggling with his mental health.

But once he saw DeRozan's interview, he knew that he wasn't alone. He writes that the interview "... really makes you think about how we are all walking around with experiences and struggles --all kinds of things-- and we sometimes think we’re the only ones going through them. The reality is that we probably have a lot in common with what our friends and colleagues and neighbors are dealing with. ... But creating a better environment for talking about mental health … that’s where we need to get to."

DeRozan and Love's powerful testimonials of their struggles are important reminders that depression and mental illness can happen to anyone, and that there is no shame in seeking out help. If you or a loved one are struggling, reach out to us for a free consultation