After NBA players like Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan spoke out about their struggles with mental health, the NBA reportedly is ready to implement some serious changes to the league’s guidelines. According to Sam Amick of The Atlantic, all 30 teams will be required to follow the new mental health initiatives, which will be officially announced next month in Chicago.
The new guidelines will require teams to have “one to two” licensed mental health professionals available to players, as well as a licensed psychiatrist available as needed. In the case of an emergency, teams must have a “written action plan” and detailed confidentiality agreements communicated to the players.
After Kevin Love’s essay for The Players’ Tribune went viral last year, it brought up the question of why players have professionals available to treat any sort of physical injury but no professional available to treat emotional and mental health.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged the need for these programs in March at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. “When I meet with [NBA players], what surprises me is that they’re truly unhappy,” he said. “A lot of these young men are generally unhappy.” Last year, the league launched a mental health and wellness program led by former player Keyon Dooling, and these new guidelines for the 2019-2020 season are the ideal way to put the plan into action.