The purpose of this analysis is to examine three different athletes from three different generations that are actively communicating and promoting mental health and depression awareness. By examining the mental health and depression awareness initiatives of these athletes, this analysis shows that depression and mental health issues can impact anyone, including elite athletes from different generations. It is important to be aware of mental health and depression awareness throughout life. This analysis will show that athletes from different generations have the power to advocate for mental health and depression awareness through different communication styles and strategies.
The criteria and process for choosing the targets of this analysis was to identify popular athletes that have struggled with mental health issues and depression. Mental health and depression awareness has increased drastically due to high-profile celebrities and athletes speaking openly about their own mental health struggles. The targets for this analysis are former Los Angeles Lakers basketball player Jerry West, former University of Miami football player and pro wrestler Dwayne Johnson and current San Antonio Spurs basketball player DeMar DeRozan. Each athlete has shared his battle with mental health issues and depression through different communication styles and strategies. Jerry West was born on May 28, 1938 in Chelyan, West Virginia. He attended West Virginia University and also played on the 1960 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team that won a gold medal in Rome, Italy. At the 1960 NBA draft, West was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers and went on to play 14 years for the organization. He led the Lakers to the NBA finals nine times and won an NBA championship in 1972. West retired as a player from the NBA in 1974 and went on to work as the Lakers’ coach or general manager until 2002.
After being physically abused by his father as a child, West developed mental health issues and depression that he has battled his entire life. He does not use social media; instead, he uses interviews and his autobiography to open up about his struggles with mental health issues and depression. Jerry West was born in 1938. Therefore, he is part of The Silent Generation or The Greatest Generation. Noteworthy details about The Silent Generation include being raised in a time of economic turmoil with a lack of modern luxuries. A strong work ethic, determination and willpower are all characteristics of The Silent Generation. Silent Generation features also include discipline, upholding of values and gratitude. The Silent Generation tries to limit luxury expenditures, avoid waste and places significant value on economic resources. Jerry West embodies the characteristics of his generation. His NBA career and his generation share many similarities including work ethic, determination, discipline and be being able to adapt.
Dwayne Johnson was born on May 2, 1972 in Hayward, California. After an injury ended his college football career at the University of Miami, he joined the World Wrestling Federation. As “The Rock,” he won the WWF/WWE Heavyweight title multiple times. Johnson would use his wrestling success to transition into an acting career in film and television. Dwayne Johnson opened up about his battle with mental health and depression issues through Twitter in early April 2018. Johnson has explained in interviews and through social media that his depression started as a child after living in poverty and witnessing his mother attempt suicide. His tweet invited more men to share their stories and discuss the importance of opening up about depression. With his Tweet, Johnson started a difficult, but important conversation on mental health and depression awareness (Schuster 2018). Dwayne Johnson was born in 1972. Therefore, he is part of Generation X. Generation X characteristics include being individualistic, technologically adept, flexible and valuing a balance between work and life.
Generation X is loyal, but they also like to challenge the status quo. They like to test new approaches and challenge existing methods. Generation X also enjoys the personalization and convenience offered by technology-based tools (Wellins 2018). In many ways, Dwayne Johnson embodies the characteristics of his generation. With his use of social media, he is individualistic and technologically adept. Johnson is flexible and values a balance between work and life as a result of his busy schedule and ability to still spend time with his daughter and family. He also challenges the status quo in his willingness to talk about his experiences with mental health issues and depression.
DeMar DeRozan was born on August 7, 1989 in Compton, California. He is a professional basketball player currently playing for the San Antonio Spurs. DeRozan played college basketball at the University of Southern California before being drafted ninth overall by the Toronto Raptors in the 2009 NBA Draft. After starring with the Raptors for nine seasons, he was traded to the Spurs in 2018. DeMar DeRozan opened up about his battle with his mental health issues and depression on Twitter in April 2018. DeRozan’s Tweet created a mental health conversation in sports. By discussing his own struggles with mental health and depression, DeRozan opened up about something few rich and famous athletes reveal publicly. DeRozan described a loneliness and darkness that often haunted him and how family and basketball have acted as his escapes. The NBA has created influential television spots and mental-wellness programs where DeRozan speaks candidly about his battle with mental health issues and depression.
DeMar DeRozan was born in 1989. Therefore, he is part of Generation Y. Generation Y characteristics include being tech savvy, family-centric, achievement-oriented and team-oriented. They tend to be excited about their jobs and they will work hard and efficiently. DeRozan embodies the characteristics of his generation. He is tech savvy through his use of social media. He is family-centric when he talks about how his family acts as his escape from mental health issues and depression. Throughout his NBA career, he has been achievement-oriented and team-oriented by striving to win an NBA championship.
Information for this analysis was gathered from the internet. One strategy that was used to obtain information was identifying athletes from different generations with mental health issues and depression. Another strategy was visiting multiple websites related to the athletes and their generations. The information was assessed by visiting multiple websites to assess the quality of the information on the website and the reliability of the information’s source. Findings This analysis found that many high profile athletes have dealt with mental health issues and depression throughout their careers and lives. The types of communication Jerry West used to reveal his battle with mental health issues and depression were verbal communication through interviews and written communication through his autobiography.
The types of communication Dwayne Johnson and DeMar DeRozan used to reveal their battles with mental health issues and depression were written communication through social media posts and verbal communication through interviews. The athletes examined were successful. Jerry West was able to overcome adversity, mental health issues and depression in his life by opening up about his mental health struggles. He hopes his autobiography will make people stronger and inspire them to overcome their own adversity, mental health problems and depression. Despite battling mental health problems and depression, Dwayne Johnson has become known as one of the biggest action heroes in Hollywood. A detail of DeRozan’s success was evident after his Tweet about mental health and depression. The NBA responded by creating influential television spots and mental-wellness programs where DeRozan speaks candidly about his battle with mental health issues and depression. There was evidence of different styles, strategies and topics. Jerry West does not have social media. Instead, he communicated using his autobiography and interviews to deliver his struggles with mental health issues and depression. Dwayne Johnson and DeMar DeRozan are both active on social media and they used their platforms to communicate their struggles with mental health issues and depression. The differences that were observed between different generations were noticeable.
Like most people from the Silent Generation, Jerry West does not use social media to communicate. He used interviews and his autobiography to convey his struggles with mental health issues and depression. The fact that people from the Silent Generation were raised in a time of economic turmoil with a lack of modern luxuries and the fact that they try to avoid waste and luxury expenditures could explain why Jerry West does not choose to communicate via social media. Generation X is described as being technologically adept and this could explain why Dwayne Johnson used social media to communicate his struggle with mental health problems and depression via social media (Kane 2018). Generation Y is described as being tech savvy and this could explain why DeMar DeRozan chose to communicate his battle with mental health issues and depression via social media (Brady 2018).
In conclusion, many lessons can be learned about communication and its various options from this analysis on athletes who promote mental health and depression awareness. This analysis confirmed that communication is vital when creating mental health and depression awareness. The more people talk about their mental health and depression, the more progress they can make in overcoming their illness. This analysis has showed that social media and initiatives to promote mental health and depression awareness are great ways to communicate and help people struggling. There are many factors that affect how an individual communicates. Generational differences can specifically affect how individuals communicate. This analysis determined that the majority people from the Silent Generation, such as Jerry West, do not use social media to communicate.
This analysis also determined that people from Generation X and Generation Y, such as Dwayne Johnson and DeMar DeRozan, are more likely to use social media to communicate. Mental health issues and depression can also affect how individuals communicate. Mental health issues and depression can prevent people from communicating for fear of embarrassment. While people who communicate, share their stories and discuss the importance of opening up about mental health issues and depression can start a dialogue and help people overcome their illness. This knowledge can be applied in my academic and career pursuits by helping my coworkers or classmates communicate their mental health issues. This knowledge will help me better understand what people are going through with their mental health issues and depression. I will also know what to do if I suffer from mental health issues in my academic and career pursuits. Based on their generation, I will know how to communicate with my colleagues or classmates if they suffer from mental health issues or depression.
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