NBA adopts new mental health rules for teams
- Updated: September 21, 2019
The NBA has added to the mental health guidelines that were integrated in the previous season. New mental health regulations have now been adopted by the NBA and starting from this season itself, all the NBA teams should have a minimum of one mental health professional employed as a full-time staff member.
These new mental health regulations came about after they were deliberated upon at a meeting held last week at Chicago. The 5-time All-Star NBA athlete Kevin Love accidentally hit a wall a couple of years back while competing with the Atlanta Hawks. He thought he was about to die and then was taken to a hospital although doctors stated that he was absolutely okay. This panic attack in the year 2017 and Love’s discussion publicly of his battles with depression and anxiety led to the players association in the NBA working out a new set of regulations for helping basketball pros get support for dealing with the intense pressure and scrutiny of the sport.
The new season starts from the 22nd of October, 2019 and the NBA has adopted new rules and held a compulsory meeting on health and wellness for executives of teams and providers of these services, establishing requirements for all the NBA’s teams (30 in all) as per reports. A behavioral therapist/psychiatrist have to be added to the full-time staff for each team along with working out an action plan in writing in case of any emergencies related to mental health. All members of staff and players have to be kept in the loop about ensuring ample confidentiality and privacy regarding mental health issues.
Many NBA players have battled mental illnesses and anxiety in the past. Royce White had previously talked of how he faced a backlash after talking about his fear related to flying and other issues linked to anxiety. Adam Silver, the Commissioner, has also stated how many young athletes are truly unhappy. The NBA had also released its own program for mental health and wellness which is spearheaded by William D. Parham, the psychologist and there is a Player Wellness Counsellor. This program links up with professionals in mental health in each city with an NBA team. These professionals are de-linked from the players association and the league in general. There are other resources available including a website only for players emphasizing on mental health with up to 90 links covering aspects like phobias and depression.
Experts have talked of how the athletes do not often understand the realities of this sport and the fact that average careers for basketball players extend to 4-5 years on an average. Pro ballers can face issues regarding balancing the stress of the sport and celebrity scrutiny along with the extensive traveling and performance linked anxieties. Players should be encouraged with regard to building a better support system in terms of colleagues, friends and family members. The company that is kept by an NBA player is also very important. A higher number of discourses and conversations regarding mental health will be important for supporting players with mental health issues. Previously, the NFL has also established a mental health and wellness committee along with a committee for joint pain management.