(NEW YORK) – May is Mental Health Awareness Month, founded in the United States in 1949 by Mental Health America, previously known as the National Association for Mental Health. It’s a way of raising awareness and has continued the fight to break the stigma.
Millions of Americans are affected, many suffer in silence, and about one in four adults aged 18 and over has a mental disorder, according to John Hopkins Medicine.
The COVID-19 pandemic complicated matters, forcing some to face the stressful challenges of lockdown and isolation from friends, family and co-workers. People were facing a crisis, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Authority said the number of calls to the Disaster Distress Helpline increased 890% in April 2020 compared to April 2019
Americans also seem to be turning to substance abuse during the pandemic, with opioid deaths rising nearly 50% in some parts of the country, according to a September 2020 report by SAMHSA compared to 2019.
The coronavirus pandemic has also incapacitated athletes in their respective sports. The National Basketball Association suspended its season on March 11, 2020 after the Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. The National Hockey League would follow suit a day later, pausing their league just weeks before the season was due to end before the playoffs. The Major League Baseball season was postponed for nearly 4 months before a shortened, 60-game season with no fans in the stadiums was planned.
Both the NBA and NHL returned in bubbly, fan-free environments. The NBA ended its season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Meanwhile, the NHL played in two capitals: Edmonton and Toronto.
However, these isolated places took a toll on their spiritual wellbeing. Current Philadelphia 76ers tall man Dwight Howard spoke to the Los Angeles Lakers about his depression during his title run. Los Angeles Clippers all-star Paul George announced he was struggling with anxiety and depression.
According to a survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 38% of respondents said they had symptoms and depression from April 2020 to February this year.
Veteran NBA Champion and Cleveland Cavaliers Kevin Love has been pronounced and is one of the most iconic faces in the mental health field after suffering a panic attack during a game against the Atlanta Hawks on November 5, 2017. Love was opened in an essay on The Players’ Tribune about his struggles with mental health.
“Success is not immune to depression. You can see that this is not discrimination and so many people have come out and talked about it,” Love told ABC News’ Perspective Podcast. “I think the community aspect of it and understanding that more and more people are ready to talk about it and that the stigma continues to be put down because it… that’s where I feel like I am able to settle in and continue this journey to try to help people as best we can. “
Listen to the rest of last week’s highlights from the Perspective podcast.
He founded the Kevin Love Fund in 2018, one of his first steps in raising awareness and promoting physical and mental wellbeing. One of the many beneficiaries is Bring Change To Mind, whose mission is to end the “stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness”.
Love also partnered with Genomind in April to create a mental health map designed to help people start their wellness journey and understand how their genetic predispositions affect their mental wellbeing.
“You learn your genetic makeup … your sanity depends on four different things. His lifestyle, his surroundings, his experiences. But we never really failed the gene part. “Love went on to tell ABC News,” You can work with a skilled clinician. You can break down exactly what these genes mean. “
Listen to the full ABC Audio interview with Kevin Love
Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and managing the pandemic has been difficult for many Americans. According to an analysis of the CDC data released in February 2021, the proportion of emergency visits for suicide attempts and overdoses increased by 26% and 36%, respectively, from March to October 2020 compared to the previous year.
“People are fighting. Especially in the last 12 months of covid and social injustice … the elections … it was really a lot for people in every area of life, “said Love.
Mental health issues also affect athletes who also returned to the sport with the NCAA Division I football season, and the men’s and women’s basketball tournament has broken out in Indianapolis and San Antonio. Norfolk State Men’s basketball coach Robert Jones called it “the nicest prison you could possibly be in”.
Dr. ABC News chief medical correspondent Jennifer Ashton told ABC News’ Perspective podcast, “If you just look at the teenage age group from a developmental standpoint. We learn in medical school that peer interaction, social interaction, and exposure are critical to their development. We talk about emotional, psychological and social development. So you can’t take and isolate an athlete … in that age group just because they’re with other athletes. You still feel isolated. “
Listen to the full ABC audio interview with Dr. Jennifer Ashton
The NCAA conducted a well-being survey of approximately 25,000 athletes in the fall of 2020. It found that both men and women viewed lack of access to exercise, COVID-19 health issues, and academics as the top factors negatively affecting their mental health.
Student-athletes had to adjust to virtual learning. 25% of respondents who had studied remotely full-time reported feeling overwhelmingly afraid, 23% felt very lonely, and 21% felt sad. There was a slight decrease in the number of athletes who had a hybrid learning environment or who only attended classes in person.
As the parent of a Division I ice hockey player, Dr. Ashton has seen firsthand what the pandemic can do for the mental health of young athletes: “I’ve watched this pandemic affect them and their teammates, and I can tell you the impact has been significant … their ability to Playing their sport the way they are used to taking away from them is literally like having their oxygen taken away. “
Finding the resources you need can be difficult. The Health Resources and Services Administration estimates that as of September 2020, 119 million Americans will be living in areas where mental health services are lacking. HRSA also reported that mental health providers in these areas were only able to adequately meet about 27% of needs.
You or someone you know should still be trying to find services and treatments available.
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