Kevin Love being praised by mental health professionals for speaking out

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love has let the world into a mental health issue he experienced in November, in an article written by him and published today.

During a game early in the season Love started to have his first ever panic attack but says he didn't know how to get help because of how he was raised.

"Growing up, you figure out really quickly how a boy is supposed to act. You learn what it takes to "be a man." It's like a playbook: Be strong. Don't talk about your feelings. Get through it on your own," Love said in the article.

Love says it was admitting he need to talk to a therapist was a major step.

"Look, I'm not saying, Everyone go see a therapist. The biggest lesson for me since November wasn't about a therapist — it was about confronting the fact that I needed help," Love said.

The brave and bold admissions are getting admiration by those in the mental health community in Cleveland.

"Grateful to him for having the courage tell his story about addressing an episode of panic disorder," Michael Baskin, Executive Director of National Alliance on Mental Illness Greater Cleveland said.

"That could lead others to seek help. He used to think of mental illnesses as a weakness and now he knows, from experience, that it's an illness that can be treated and helped."

The fact the someone like Love is willing to speak up to show that no matter who you are, we can all be going through something is a message that needs to be heard according to Baskin.

"It de-stigmatizes mental illness. As a part of what therapists do to help their patients, it "normalizes" something that people can identify with. The more people know about it, the less likely they are to stigmatize mental illness. Stigma about mental illness if a form of discrimination."

It may also encourage many others to finally get the help they need.

"Learn about it. Talk to others. Open discussion about it in your families and peer groups. If you see someone you're concerned about, or for yourself, let them know you're concerned. Help them with resources, or visit a therapist to get an assessment," Baskin advises.

Scott Osiecki is the CEO of the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County. He's proud to hear that Kevin Love is addressing mental health issues.

"By doing that he is really breaking down the stigma, he is letting people know that it's okay to talk about mental illness, and it's okay to seek help for it," Osiecki said.

"Mental illness can happen to anyone. He's a prominent sports figure, he's very well-known. So by him coming out and talking about that, he's proving that it could happen to anybody," he said.

You can call a 24-hour Mental Health & Addiction Crisis Services hotline at 216-623-6888 with any questions and to be referred to services by a professional.

You can also text HOPE to 741741 and a trained counselor will reply to you in five minutes.

There is even an anonymous online self-assessment test to see if you should be seeking help. You can find that here.

There is also a helpline through the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Greater Cleveland that can also offer help to friends and family at 216-875-0266.

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