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Volume 26 No. 65
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NBA Rolling Out Number Of Mandatory Mental Health Programs

The NBA "issued a memo to all 30 teams" detailing "changes that will be required before the start" of this season in an effort to ramp up its mental health programs, according to sources cited by Sam Amick of THE ATHLETIC. All 30 teams now have several requirements, including to "retain and make available to players on a voluntary basis one to two mental health professionals who are licensed in their field and locality." They also must identify a licensed psychiatrist to be available to "assist in managing player mental health issues," as well as "enact a written action plan for mental health emergencies." These efforts come after a "string of other improvements in recent years." Since '15, the NBA has "made a clinical psychologist available to speak with players and team staff 'regarding stress, pressure, healthy relationships and other wellness-related issues.'" The NBPA was "integral in this process of creating a stronger support system, coordinating and communicating with the NBA at every step along the way." Both sides agree that the NBA's "move to require a certain type of mental health infrastructure as opposed to simply suggesting it" would create a "level of consistency that was seen as important" (THEATHLETIC.com, 8/7).

WORKING TOGETHER: The Big3 today also announced an expansive new mental health policy to go into effect immediately. The league's policy includes seven points of emphasis that will help to better address mental health. Some of those points include advocating for policies that give people the ability to ask for and receive help. It also calls for communicating to players that their honesty about health issues will be embraced and supported (Big3).