This past Sunday was acknowledged as world mental health day aimed at raising awareness and spreading education about mental health issues around the globe.
Here at home, the University of Hawaii women’s basketball team has put a concentrated focus on the subject in hopes of breaking the stigma around it while understanding the importance of speaking out when struggling.
That is a scenario that sophomore guard Olivia Davies experiences first hand. After returning from a torn ACL in her freshman season, she battled anxieties as she endured through rehabilitation while searching to regain confidence. Often times through the difficulties, she was forced to be alone, isolated from others amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Mental health is honestly a super important topic. Especially with athletes, it’s overlooked often, but without the mental side a lot of the physical can’t be there. Like, mentally if you’re not checked in, then physically your body isn’t going to do what your mind wants it to do,” Davies told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello. “That’s why I had to regroup after the fact of the season and talk to coach Beeman and things like that. So, moving forward we have a way better game plan, way better line of communication between us two and the rest of the girls and stuff like that.”
At the conclusion of the pandemic modified 2020-21 season, Davies contemplated leaving the program and the islands, but after discussions with teammates and head coach Laura Beeman, decided to remain with the Rainbow Wahine which started many more conversations with the team on the subject.
“You can’t separate mental health away from other aspects of these kids lives. It is going on in a daily basis what these young women and all of our athletes are enduring here with the isolation and some of the other things that are challenges for us,” said Beeman. “So, for Olivia to be willing to say, yeah I had it, I still have it, I still deal with it, but I’m back and I want to be a voice, I could not be more proud of that young lady.”
“I always make sure that everybody knows that I’m always somebody that they can come to if they want to about anything. I think I’m easily approachable, I think everybody thinks that too and it’s been kind of nice just taking that side of the role as a teammate just being able to have somebody there to talk to and things like that and I feel like it impacts the locker room a lot,” said Davies.
Olivia, who averaged seven points per game as a redshirt freshman is currently preparing for the start to the season as the Rainbow Wahine are in the middle of training camp. UH will open the season on November 3 against Hawaii Pacific University.
If you or a loved one is feeling anxious, experiencing a crisis, thinking of suicide, or need access to mental health or substance use treatment, help is available 24/7:
Hawaii CARES – 832-3100 or 1-800-753-6879
Additional multilingual, 24/7 support is available to people experiencing emotional distress related to COVID-19 and other disasters:
SAMHSA Disaster Distress Hotline – 1-800-985-5990