The National Basketball Players Association named Dr. William D. Parham its first director of mental health and wellness on Thursday.
In his role, Parham will oversee the development and management of the newly launched NBPA Mental Health and Wellness Program designed to assist all members of the union in addressing any mental heath challenges or issues they face.
“We are excited to have Dr. Parham on board and to get the Program up and running,” said NBPA executive director Michele Roberts in a statement. “We have heard our players’ stories and are making mental health a priority now by bringing in Dr. Parham. His many years of expertise and knowledge of the game allow him to make an impact in this new role right away.”
During the current NBA season, Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan opened up about his bouts with depression and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love wrote about his experience with panic attacks and anxiety. Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue discussed before the start of the NBA Finals his absence from the bench, which was caused in part by anxiety.
“It really makes you think about how we are all walking around with experiences and struggles — all kinds of things — and we sometimes think we’re the only ones going through them,” Love wrote for The Players’ Tribune. “The reality is that we probably have a lot in common with what our friends and colleagues and neighbors are dealing with. Mental health is an invisible thing, but it touches all of us at some point or another. It’s part of life. Like DeMar said, ‘You never know what that person is going through.’”