Everyone giggled when Los Angeles Laker, Ron Artest, thanked his psychologist for keeping him calm and helping him focus throughout the season, and specifically, the playoffs. We laughed because most of us would never publicly admit that we have a mental problem; a handicap. We laughed because, in truth, he sounded silly. We laughed because we perceived him to act as a child in an adults body. Perhaps we laughed most, though, because we couldn’t express ourselves appropriately to his honesty and sincerity.
Yes, Ron Artest has mental health issues, and is not embarrassed to talk about it. There aren’t too many people that would be willing to speak publicly about an issue which is still somewhat of a taboo in our society. To his credit, though, he is becoming an advocate for children; explaining to them that it’s important to seek help when necessary. There’s nothing wrong about it and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
Shelly Smith wrote a great article about his struggles and his new-found role as an advocate. I recommend taking a look at the article. It’s a worthwhile read.
Ron Artest is an unlikely advocate and an unlikely role model. But has now accomplished both.