27-year-old Aces basketball player, Liz Cambage, has been struggling with depression and anxiety for half her life and she is opening up about it to The Player’s Tribune. At the young age of 15, she was blacking out from drinking and even waking up after a weekend of partying, with an IV in her arm, and no recollection of what happened. She even tried to get sober at 18. She recently missed two basketball games in Las Vegas last week where the “reason” for her not playing was that she needed rest. What it should’ve said, says Cambage, was that it was due to mental health. Mental health issues have really impacted her ability to perform.
There were nights where she cried her eyes out for hours; dealing with negative thoughts. She was put on suicide watch in 2016. She would have panic attacks on the airplane and even in the hallways after a game. Liz is open about the fact that she takes medication for anxiety and depression. “My meds just make me feel like a healthier and freer version of myself,” Cambage says.
The NBA recently set a mental health policy that requires one mental health professional to be on call for all the teams “as well as mandating that each organization identifies a licensed psychiatrist available to help manage any mental health concerns for players.” While Liz is happy that policy is implemented, she wonders why the WNBA does not have a program like this. She goes on to say, “It’s disappointing to me that we’re praising anyone for ‘progress,’ when so many women are being excluded from it…” Liz is calling for the absence in a game due to mental health to be a legitimate reason.
Mental health should be something that everyone has access to. It should be at schools, in the workplace, sports, etc. It’s great that the NBA is making strides and we hope that the WNBA will follow. We are so proud of Liz Cambage on being so outspoken about her mental health struggles with depression and anxiety.It may be easier to find mental health resources when you’re famous, but the reality is that not everyone has easy access. There is help and there is hope! Mental health treatment can help anyone who is facing depression, thoughts of suicide, etc.