"it is our responsibility to provide our members the resources to succeed both mentally and physically."
The National Basketball Players Association today announced the launch of a mental health and wellness program for NBA players Friday, according to USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt. Keyon Dooling, who has served as the NBPA Player Wellness Counselor since January, will be joined by a Director of Mental Health and Wellness as part of the new program, according to the report.
Multiple players, including Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, opened up about their own experiences and mental health struggles during the season, which initiated discussions for a mental health and wellness program.
“In recent months, several of our players have spoken candidly about their internal struggles,” said NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts. “Their stories have reminded us all that mental health challenges may be faced by everyone, including professional athletes. This is an area that can no longer be neglected. As a Players Association, it is our responsibility to provide our members the resources to succeed both mentally and physically. Accordingly, we have decided to make mental health a priority now.”
Dooling, a life coach since 2013, published a piece for The Player's Tribune earlier this month revealing that he was sexually abused as a child, which led to a stay in a mental institution in 2012 while he was a member of the Boston Celtics. Of the NBPA's new program, Dooling says, “I am thrilled to be a part of this new program within the NBPA. I look forward to serving the needs of our players and to continue normalizing the conversation around mental health in the NBA.”