Brandon Marshall and the Challenge to Mental Health Treatment Inequality
by David J. Leonard | NewBlackMan
On Sunday, amid all the hoopla about the start of NFL training camp, player movement, and the start of the NFL season, Brandon Marshall quietly told the world a secret, announcing that he was living with a Borderline Personality Disorder.
Right now today, I am vulnerable, I making myself vulnerable, and I want it to be clear that this is the opposite of damage control. The only reason I am standing here today is to use my story to help others who may suffer from what I suffer from, from what I had to deal with. I can’t explain to you and paint a vivid enough picture for you guys where I been in my life, probably since the end of my rookie year.
Noting that neither the cars nor the fame, neither the success on the field nor the joys experienced off the field resulted in happiness, Marshall highlighted the despair that he has experienced during his life:
I haven’t enjoyed not one part of it and it’s hard for me to understand why . . . . One of the things I added to my prayer was for God to show me my purpose here. When I got out of the hospital, I called my videographer and I said, Rob, grab your camera and just come to my house and just start shooting. I said I’m very depressed right now, I probably won’t talk, I probably won’t even leave my theater room, but you just shoot and don’t stop shooting. I said, I don’t know where we’re going with this, I don’t know what’s going to come out of this, but something good is going to happen.
Marshall is not the first high-profile African American athlete to publicly document the struggles with mental illness. Several years ago, Ricky Williams spoke about his illness (Social Anxiety Disorder) “to up the awareness and erase the stigma.” Likewise, Ron Artest, who has publicly acknowledged his own disease, has gone beyond chronicling his own story, testifying before congress while raising money (through auctioning off his championship ring) for mental health awareness among youth.