That’s why Love has spent a large part of his self-isolation giving back, whether it’s donating to the team’s arena workers who found themselves out of work or organizing meal deliveries to the Cleveland Clinic.
Of his $100,000 donation to help pay Quickens Loans Arena staffers who have been out of work since the suspension of the NBA season, Love told Harlow: “I was just considering that anxiety of maybe not seeing your next paycheck. I know a number of them (the staffers) on a first name basis, and I just thought it was very important to just help alleviate some of that stress that they might have felt.”
And the NBA Champion said it’s good for him as well: “At least for me, a form of therapy or feeling better is just practicing acts of kindness.”
For Love, mental health is an under-discussed topic in American life and a problem that will be exacerbated by the pandemic. His 2018 Players Tribune article titled “Everyone is Going Through Something” was a major turning point for the California native in an ongoing battle with anxiety and depression.
Since then, Love has used his platform as an elite NBA player to continuously bring mental health to the forefront of his following’s consciousness. The power forward often notes he’s not an expert on the subject, but his personal battles give him a perspective to share that might help others dealing with similar issues.
And for the five-time All-Star, the coronavirus pandemic is a chance to further the discussion on mental health, especially due to the instability it has caused everyone. “It’s going to be really important that we have the tools…because some of the language and models are broken in how we talk about this,” he explained.
To Love, the tools include things like access to therapy and mental health education. That includes, he says, helping communities often without those resources.
“It’s not just about, you know, taking that curve and making sure that it’s dropping off…but also in underserved areas, making sure that everybody is getting an equal shot. Everybody’s getting a fair shot at staying healthy, living and reaching their potential.”
Love also pointed out the disparity of COVID-19 deaths in the African-American community, expressing his hopes the pandemic shines light on inequalities in access to medical attention: “We have to come out of this changed. I feel like there is a lot of good that can come of this and it can be eye-opening.”
Along with donating money and pointing out the underlying problems with mental health treatment and access, Love is also reaching out in other ways. He recently penned another piece in the Players Tribune, sharing how he is staying healthy both physically and mentally during self-isolation – whether it’s watching old movies or exercising.
And he’s using social media, recently posting on Instagram a message to encourage his following to reach out to others to help combat loneliness. Looking into the camera, Love cited studies showing loneliness to have similar health effects as issues like obesity and cigarette smoking.
With his ongoing work to combat the stigma of mental health issues, the Cavaliers forward is hoping the nation and the world come out of the COVID-19 pandemic with a greater understanding of things like anxiety and depression. “This is really a pandemic that nobody’s talking about,” he noted. “I can’t really put my finger on something that is a bigger thief of human potential. So it’s just incredibly important that we continue to speak and talk about the stigma.”