Anyone who zips onto Twitter and finds Azurá Stevens’ handle will be connected to an enlightenment page. The relationships she’s forged with her followers aren’t just rooted in her uplifting messages. Stevens connects very well with people as her Twitter character on her 280 shows honesty and vulnerability.
“I don’t want anyone to feel alone,” said Stevens, who had 11 points, six rebounds and five blocks in Sky’s 93-83 victory over the Washington Mystics. “I can’t help everyone personally, but I can inspire someone else by being honest about some of the things I deal with.
Stevens invests in her mental health through therapy in the same way she invests in her physical health. Communicating with someone who listened to understand, not just to respond, had a great impact on her.
In the midst of what many consider to be a milestone season, including Sky winning its first WNBA championship last year, Stevens endured a personal battle.
She spoke out last summer about her struggles with mental health, which undermined her appreciation for basketball to the point that it made her uneasy. I didn’t know if you were experiencing
It was important to Stevens to experience one of life’s greatest moments and one of its most difficult challenges at the same time.
“The more we talk about these things so that people don’t feel ostracized for their mental health, the better,” Stevens said.
Earlier in the season, Stevens told Sky that he wanted to be as involved in the team’s mental health efforts as possible. In April, we began planning a network of mental health resources called “The Net.”
The Nets officially kicked off on Sunday against the Connecticut Suns, highlighted by gaming initiatives and a website with mental health support services and organizations available to all. Stevens, Rebekah Gardner and Ruthy Hebard are contributing directly to the initiative by sharing their personal stories debuting on her website at The Net and appearing in a series of trading cards distributed Sunday. increase. The cards list each player’s tools for prioritizing their mental health.
“Hopefully there are young athletes in the audience who see us go through things and feel more comfortable talking about their mental health,” Gardner said. As humans, we need to recharge ourselves.”
A single initiative is not enough to stigmatize mental health.
Part of the WNBA’s efforts include league-wide recommendations, one of which is for all 12 teams to have mental health clinicians on staff available to all staff members throughout the season. Her recommendations were implemented in 2018 and are continuously evaluated by mental health professionals. This is the first year these mental health recommendations were required across the league.
One of the issues Sky and the league are grappling with is how to provide universal mental health support year-round when the WNBA season only lasts four to five months.
“We can talk about it and work to reduce stigma, but we need follow-up that requires environments and systems to foster a positive mental health environment,” said Sky mental performance consultants. Patrice Whitfield said.
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