Chris Chan, Mercer Imagineer and diehard Warriors fan, recently posted a piece on LinkedIn about six recent developments in the NBA that – with a little squinting – offer some lessons for HR. We pulled out one that we particularly liked to publish here.
Demar DeRozen of the Raptors and Cavs star Kevin Love recently starred in a public service announcement on the importance of mental health. Both have opened up about depression and panic attacks that they’ve experienced. The league office and NBA Players Association have been working to revamp the league’s mental health policy. Teams are working proactively to destigmatize these issues around stress and anxiety – part of their goal is to set an example for young athletes and fans that these are real issues and it’s ok to seek help. Kevin Love penned an open letter about his experiences and what it took for him to overcome natural internal resistance to get professional help. To not “deal with it later.” To not just “be a man.” But once he began seeing the therapist, he was pleasantly surprised. Both he and DaMar are speaking publically about their struggles, opening the door for other players to do the same. To help raise awareness and fight stigma, Love and DeRozan have filmed a public service announcement for Mental Health Awareness Month; the PSA ran on TNT, ABC, ESPN and NBA TV throughout the NBA Playoffs and Finals. I am confident that their efforts are shifting attitudes for the fans watching them, both young and old.
Takeaway for HR: Mental health is one of the most frequent topics that I am asked about by our employer clients. It’s obvious that there is a shift occurring in our society. I urge you not to search for the perfect solution – anything that makes things incrementally better is an improvement, because the current system is failing all of us.