Ron Artest has recently said he will donate some or all of his NBA salary of $6.79 million for next year to mental health charities. He wants to help people who can’t afford counseling to be able to access it because it has helped him over the years make some healthy personal changes. He has stressed he isn’t talking about medicating mental health conditions, but using talk therapy. “No, I don’t do medication, I’m not pushing that, no, no, no. I have used other ways. If you’re scared of the word ‘therapist’ or ‘counselor,’ you can see a ‘professional communicator.’” (Source: Los Angeles Times)
In an interview Artest spoke about his past, “The only thing I knew about myself back then was, I knew I was ghetto, I knew I had a quick temper, and I knew I didnít really care about what people thought.” (Source: Sportsgrid.com) He has been in counseling on and off since he was 13, when his parents divorced, and has worked on issues related to anger, his own marriage, and being a parent. (Source: ESPN.com)
He actually started working with youth when he played for the Sacramento Kings, when he paid for group counseling sessions, so they were free. Recently he spoke to several hundred students at an intermediate school in the Los Angeles area, telling them mental health concerns are nothing to fear.
Artest has been talked about in the media for some behavior that was considered unusual. He even once was involved in a brawl during an NBA game with fans, and that incident resulted in his suspension from playing for 73 games. To his credit, he as acknowledged at times he has needed help and sought it.
Now he is doing fundraisers to help mental health charities so they can continue doing their work. Artest recently raised over $400,000 for Xcel University, which he established to help youth living in poverty and high-risk situations, by selling raffle tickets for his 2009-2010 championship ring.
Image Credit: Keith Allison