The Student Athlete Advisory Committee recognizes this week as Student-Athlete Mental Health Awareness Week. This means that student-athletes will be meditating. watching documentaries on mental health, enjoying a carnival, and having open discussions at breakfast.
While this week is all about celebration, the stigma of mental illness has not always had a light shining on it.
In 2010, Ron Artest, also known as Metta World Peace, thanked his psychiatrist during his NBA Finals post-championship interview.
Artest spoke at Eastmont Intermediate School soon after his comments on national television to show support for the Mental Health in Schools Act.
Artest is not the only athlete that has spoken out about his mental health. WNBA player, Chamique Holdsclaw, was diagnosed with depression and bipolar II disorder, according to her documentary: Mind Game: the Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw.
The documentary takes you through her life from high school, to being a Lady Volunteer basketball player at Tennessee, to her time the WNBA, and beyond. The documentary goes through the ups and downs of Holdsclaw’s life and how she hid her mental discomfort for a long time until she couldn’t.
But, not all mental health illnesses are caught in time. A student-athlete at the University of Pennsylvania, Madison Holleran died on January 17, 2014 when she committed suicide. Kate Fagan of ESPN wrote about how while on social media Holleran made her life look perfect, Holleran struggled on the inside.
The UGA SAAC will continue this week to promote conversation about mental health with a carnival tonight and other speakers at breakfasts.