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Case study provided by The Jed Foundation in partnership with filmmaker Rick Goldsmith.

Part 1

Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw, a one-hour documentary film, tells the story of a WNBA All-Star’s experience with mental illness. As unique as Chamique’s journey is, it reflects the challenges faced by millions of people and families dealing with similar issues. The following clips and questions will take you through parts of Chamique’s story and encourage self-reflection on prioritizing your mental wellness and the mental health of others around you. Chamique’s experiences help us all understand the importance of identifying challenges, seeking help, and being open with others in order to live healthy, fulfilling lives.

Part 2

  • What kinds of stresses are mentioned in this clip? How do you think it would feel to live your life in the public and with very little privacy?
  • How do you imagine things might have been different if Chamique had continued to get treatment as soon as she experienced problems?
    • Getting treatment early and sticking with it when recommended can help ease problems going forward.

Part 3

  • How did Chamique deal with the loss of her grandmother?
    • Grieving can take many different forms. There is no right way to grieve, but for some people, grieving can precipitate episodes of depression.

Part 4

  • After trying intensely to not express or show her sadness over the loss of her grandmother, Chamique reaches a point where she can no longer hold back her emotions. What do you think makes it hard for people to ask for help in general?
  • Do you think things might have been different if Chamique had been able to get help sooner or if her friends had suggested she get help sooner?

Part 5

  • Often an acute mental health problem like depression can be set off by a personal crisis, loss or difficult experience or event. For some people, over time, episodes or periods of troubling symptoms can emerge without a precipitating event. What in Chamique’s description of her feelings and behaviors might suggest that she was beginning to have a mental health challenge?
  • Why was it difficult for Chamique to talk about the challenges she was experiencing?
  • Can you identify an event in your life that has caused you an emotional challenge? How did you handle it?
  • Chamique mentioned she “didn’t want to live anymore.” People suffering with serious depression often feel withdrawn, sad, lack energy, are unable to enjoy things and can have thoughts that life is not worth living or of self-harm. If you, or someone you know, are having thoughts like these, help is available and through texting TEAM to 741-741 for free, confidential support with a trained counselor through Crisis Text Line.

The Road to Help and Recovery

Part 6

  • Working with her treatment team, family, and friends, Chamique was able to work on getting back to her professional career and with a sense of being in control. Do you think there are similarities in the personal characteristics that make someone a successful athlete and that make someone able to help manage and overcome an illness or injury?
    • Both of these life tasks and challenges involve focus, determination and teamwork.

Part 7

  • Sometimes it can take time until the nature of a problem becomes clear. Chamique was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which requires continued treatment and care. Bipolar disorder can sometimes look like depression and only over time do periods of being manic (e.g., too much energy, sleepless periods, risky and dangerous behaviors) emerge. With a treatment team, Chamique formulated an individualized plan that has helped keep her life on track, including therapy and prescribed medications.
  • Like most physical problems, mental health challenges are influenced by a combination of biological risks, life experiences, attitudes and behaviors. We can do things and make decisions that help shape the course and outcomes of our health and wellness. Some people do experience serious mental illness, but if you work with a treatment team, build other support and take steps to care for yourself, you can still live a very productive and rewarding life.
    • What are things you do that help you keep your mind and body healthy? Are there new things you can add to your routine that may help?

Part 8

  • Friends and family can play a really helpful role in being a support to someone. They can help to notice when things might not be going well and help connect a person to care in a time of crisis or difficulty.
  • Who in your life would most likely play this role? Would you be able to reach out to a trusted family member or friend if you were in emotional distress?

Part 9

  • Chamique now spends much of her time speaking to young people about her life and career and educating them about mental health and the value of getting care and asking for and giving help when it is needed.
    • How could you help to care for yourself or step in to support a friend who was in emotional distress?
    • Are you aware of resources for finding mental health counseling or care in your community or school? What steps could you take to find this information?

To watch the entire film by two-time Academy Award nominee Rick Goldsmith, click here.

Case study provided by The Jed Foundation in partnership with filmmaker Rick Goldsmith.