When sport imitates life

Kudos to NFL defensive lineman Derek Wolfe for his self-disclosure about painful depression that threatened his career and his life. But, there is more to this story. Wolfe’s depression followed a rather severe physical injury that he feared could have been career-ending. Were it not for the outstanding medical care that pro player status affords, his subsequent depression might have been ignored.

Consider the transition that our public and commercial insurance plans are going through now to integrate physical and behavioral healthcare. Client care managers, primary care physicians, and mental health practitioners are still only at the front-end of recognizing how chronic conditions like cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes, and physical pain are further complicated by depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairments . . . sometimes secondary to meds, and other times due to the insult of the diseases and conditions themselves. Too bad we all can’t get the kind of care professional athletes get.

Michael Stoltz has been at the agency’s leadership helm since 1990, first as Executive Director of the predecessor organization, Clubhouse of Suffolk, and since July 2014, the CEO of the Association for Mental Health and Wellness (MHAW). MHAW is the result of the merger of Clubhouse with Suffolk County United Veterans and the Mental Health Association in Suffolk County.                                                                                                                                             Under Michael’s stewardship, the agency has grown to one with an $10 million annual operating budget, 150 employees, servicing more than 3,000 people each year through its Ronkonkoma, Riverhead, and Yaphank facilities. A social worker by training, Michael received his MSW in 1982 from Adelphi University, where he has served as an Adjunct Professor teaching Social Welfare Policy and Human Service Management. He served as a Program Supervisor, developing and implementing the Suffolk County Intensive Case Management Program, as well as positions in management and direct service at several Long Island outpatient clinics.

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Posted in Depression, Sports
One comment on “When sport imitates life
  1. I really respect Derek Wolfe’s story about depression. I used to experience severe pain while playing basketball, but I could never say anything about it. That was when the depression and other psycho-social causes would act as catalysts to the illness that I had known. I still love basketball, but I can remember being depressed sometimes while playing.


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