(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a guest post by Michael Corbin, hardcore Bears fan and mental health advocate. Corbin is the creator of everyminute.org, a grassroots campaign uniting advocates, mental health professionals and organizations into a single coalition creating a public forum advancing the need and benefit of increased mental health research.)
I grew up in a rural town south of Chicago, and I have been a Bears fan my entire life, and as we Bears fans know, there’s a certain dominant, smash-mouth style of play we expect on the field and in fashion.
This week wide receiver Brandon Marshall took a tough stance in a different fashion than most fans are used to:
He announced he would be wearing lime green cleats in his October 10th game against the New York Giants as a way to attract attention to Mental Health Awareness Week.
In the midst of a month that many NFL players are wearing pink shoes, gloves, and wristbands to support breast cancer awareness, Marshall stood up and drew attention to another important health concern: mental health.
Not only has Marshall shown true character, but also that he has the fortitude to play with any Bears team I can recall in my 43 years as a fan.
Marshall tweeted the NFL letter detailing the $10,500 fine–and plans to match that fine with a contribution to his charity, as well as auction off the shoes and donate those proceeds to mental health charity.
Football is my platform not my purpose. This fine is nothing compared to the conversation started & awareness raised.
In 2011, Marshall announced he was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD), an affliction that affects six to ten million Americans, twice that of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Just a few borderline personality disorder facts*:
- 75-90% of those diagnosed with BPD are women. This may reflect that women seek treatment more often, and that men with these or similar symptoms may be entering the penal system after receiving a diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder.
- Another disturbing fact is that 10%, or one in ten, people with BPD commit suicide.
- 33% of youth who commit suicide have features, or traits, of BPD. This number is 400 times higher than the general population, and young women with BPD have a suicide rate of 800 times higher than the general population.
- Early intervention and treatment is critical to obtaining a successful outcome.
One of the most utilized treatments for BPD is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) originally developed by Marsha M. Linehan. DBT combines standard Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques for emotion regulation, distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness, a meditative Buddhist-type practice.
For more information about Brandon Marshall and his BPD outreach/education activities check out his website, Project Borderline.