The NBA continues to set trends that will eventually get adopted in other leagues.
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the NBA is reportedly bulking up its mental health guidelines for the upcoming season. The Athletic obtained a memo that details a number of initiatives and changes that all teams will have to follow for the 2019-2020 season. From The Athletic:
• Retain and make available to players on a voluntary basis one to two mental health professionals who are licensed in their field and locality, and with experience in assessing and treating clinical mental health issues.
• Identify a licensed psychiatrist (M.D. or D.O.) to be available to assist in managing player mental health issues.
• Enact a written action plan for mental health emergencies.
• Put in place procedures for communicating to players and team staff the team’s practices with respect to privacy and confidentiality.
• Attend a Sept. 12 ‘health and wellness meeting’ in Chicago where these matters will be discussed and analyzed even further.
Sources, at @TheAthletic: The NBA is ramping its mental health program – again. League memo sent to all 30 teams today details changes that are required by the start of the 2019-20 season. Story here – https://t.co/yafq49o0q3
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) August 7, 2019
The NBA’s changes come after a slate of players revealed their battles with mental health both before and during their time in the league. Kevin Love and Keyon Dooling wrote personal essays on the matter for The Player’s Tribune. DeMar DeRozan discussed his own battle with depression with the Toronto Star’s Doug Smith.
Commissioner Adam Silver discussed the league’s emphasis on mental health in February.
“When I meet with (NBA players who have expressed concern on this front), what strikes me is that they’re truly unhappy,’’ Silver said at the Sloan Conference in Boston. “A lot of these young men are generally unhappy.’’
It’s great that the league is now requiring teams to employ/retain at least one health professional who will be adept in handling mental health concerns. But to be honest, it’s a bit shocking to realize that at the moment, there might actually be some teams in the league who currently do not have these types of professionals on their current payroll.