Ben Simmons’ Approach To Mental Health Sparks Controversial Debate In America

"Ben Simmons isn't going to see your commentary on his mental health but your friends on here that are struggling in silence are going to. This is one of those times if you don't have something nice to say, you shouldn't say anything at all."

Image: @bensimmons

One positive to come from the pandemic was the amount of attention given to mental health – and how important it really is. It also once again brought up the fact that men, in general, tend to be less inclined to seek help from others, instead choosing to adopt a more stoic approach and to be ‘manly’ (and how we really need to change that culture).

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But now that more and more conversations are being had, and charities dedicated to men’s mental health are popping up all the time, it’s become ever more accepted that men suffer from internal battles just as much as women. We’ve actually seen some really positive steps of late, with a lot of positive actions being taken in terms of awareness (and real change) both from individuals and companies.

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Which is why, arguably, the latest developments around Australian basketball star Ben Simmons recently made such a splash in America.

The Australian NBA star, who currently plays for the Philadelphia 76ers as point guard, has been going through a tumultuous time of late, having missed the entire pre-season, along with several practice sessions, asking for a transfer request (despite having four years left on his contract) and has even been fined for missing games, practices and meetings.

And now, the New York Post claims Simmons has told his team he is not “prepared mentally” to play. However, the publication adds the 76ers have offered him assistance – and put a halt on the fines issued to him – but are “growing frustrated with Simmons’ refusal to accept assistance from the team to aid in his mental health.”

RELATED: The Uncomfortable Truth About Sports’ Ongoing Mental Health Debate

He is said to have previously worked with “mental health professional provided by the league,” but “has not provided information about those meetings to the Sixers.”

Fox Sports adds Simmons is idolising a move to the Golden State Warriors, but several obstacles, such as how much they’d have to pay him, and the fact he may end up replacing Draymond Green (something the team isn’t prepared to do), lie in the way. further cites Shams Charnia of The Athletic as saying, “There’s no timetable on Simmons’ return to the floor.”

The news has sparked a delicate debate on Twitter, with some accusing Simmons of cashing in on the mental health movement of late (and exploiting it as a smokescreen), and others coming to his defence saying you can’t possibly assume to know his intentions or where his head is at.

One Twitter user wrote: “Ben Simmons isn’t going to see your commentary on his mental health but your friends on here that are struggling in silence are going to. This is one of those times if you don’t have something nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all.”

Another said: “I hope Ben Simmons mental health is good. I couldn’t imagine living while getting slandered online 24/7 it’s actually sad.”

While it’s positive news that the NBA star has reportedly already received help, and while it could well be Simmons simply would rather seek help on his own terms rather than through the 76ers, the whole saga proves what a loaded topic mental health still is (see: The Uncomfortable Truth About Sport’s Ongoing Mental Health Debate).

We’re not ones to judge anyone – let alone Simmons – having never been in his shoes.

If you’d like to read more about men’s mental health, check out our discussion with psychologist Lars Madsen where were discus the benefits and drawbacks of taking a ‘viking approach’ to life in the 21st century…

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