Jahlil Okafor opens up about mental health struggles, thanks Kevin Love

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Jahlil Okafor (Getty Images)

Pelicans center Jahlil Okafor is the latest NBA player to open up about battles with mental health. 

Okafor, 22, shared a transformative photo on Instagram showing differences physically, but he also revealed in his caption that he has been struggling with mental health. 

“Although the physical changes in this photo are evident, their has been extreme growth unbenounced to the eye. I’ve learned how to identify and manage different stressors such as anxiety. Learning how to identify certain stressors has also allowed me to over come them,” Okafor wrote, in part. 

“Often times because of my size and profession people may view me in a certain way, but in reality I deal with the same struggles as countless others. Mental health awareness is a cause I will fight for the rest of my life and if you’re struggling today don’t be afraid to speak with someone and seek help.”

 

My summer of transformation: First off I want to thank @idanwan & @dzandertraining for getting after it with me the moment my season ended. Grateful to have two of the best in their respective fields work with me all summer. Although the physical changes in this photo are evident, their has been extreme growth unbenounced to the eye. I’ve learned how to identify and manage different stressors such as anxiety. Learning how to identify certain stressors has also allowed me to over come them. Often times because of my size and profession people may view me in a certain way, but in reality I deal with the same struggles as countless others. Mental health awareness is a cause I will fight for the rest of my life and if you’re struggling today don’t be afraid to speak with someone and seek help. I would like to thank @kevinlove and the @playerstribune for helping me identify my feelings and informing me what I was dealing with was in fact normal. 6 weeks left in the off season; with a lot more work to do!

A post shared by Jahlil Okafor (@jah8) on

He also took the opportunity to thank Cavaliers star Kevin Love, who wrote a Players’ Tribune piece about mental health in March. Love revealed he was dealing with panic attacks and went to therapy.

“I would like to thank @kevinlove and the @playerstribune for helping me identify my feelings and informing me what I was dealing with was in fact normal,” Okafor added. 

Okafor, who was selected out of Duke by the 76ers with the No. 3 overall pick of the 2015 draft, signed a two-year deal with the Pelicans this offseason.