Being a professional athlete comes with a great deal of stress. There’s the pressure to perform, travel fatigue, the wear and tear on the body, and the need to cultivate a public persona, among many other factors. For far too long, the stigma around mental health has prevented athletes from recognizing these issues and seeking the proper help.
But star players from all the major sports have come forward in recent years to help bring awareness to this issue, and as a result, athletes are more comfortable acknowledging their struggles and being proactive about treatment. One of the most vocal proponents has been Kevin Love.
Love first opened up about his episodes of anxiety and panic attacks and has been instrumental for this cause. As a result, he received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at this year’s ESPYs. Now, he’s taking it a step further and making a sizable donation to help establish a chair at his alma mater UCLA that will be dedicate to research and education in mental health.
Via the UCLA Newsroom:
“I’m concerned about the level of anxiety that people are feeling. Recent events, including the novel coronavirus outbreak, have put our society under enormous stress,” Love said. “I am happy to be able to help UCLA, my alma mater, work toward solving some of society’s biggest underlying issues. I hope one day we are able to erase the stigma around anxiety and depression, and we can only do that by improving diagnosis and treatment, fostering public conversations about mental health and encouraging people to seek help when they need it.”
Love’s contribution, bolstered by the Centennial Term Chair Match, will go to a scholar in the psychology department whose research could help advance more personalized treatments for people living with anxiety and depression.
He’s also the founder of The Kevin Love Fund, which seeks to leverage the considerable wealth of the entertainment industry to generate funds for precisely this type of research. Love joined Trevor Noah on The Daily Show recently to talk about how the pandemic and social distancing have put additional strain on mental well-being and what can be done to help mitigate that. His continued efforts are making a significant impact both in the world of sports and otherwise.