ACC hopes to end stigma behind mental illness

From championships to academics and now a new network, the ACC continues to raise the bar.

"Those are tangible, very important aspects of the ACC," said commissioner John Swofford. "But, really the most important aspect are our student-athletes."

The ACC is efforting to end some of the stigmas behind mental illness starting with a health and wellness summit.

"I think it's an obligation we have," Swofford said. "It's the right thing to do, the human thing to do."

"I believed I was the only one going through this, that was in my mind," said Chamique Holdsclaw. "When I finally opened up I got thousands of letters from other people that said thank you and said you're so strong."

One of the speakers at the summit, Chamique Holdsclaw, a three-time NCAA champion and number one draft pick in the WNBA, used basketball as a way to escape from her own demons.

"In the sports world I was judged, I was called crazy," said Holdsclaw. "Why would you want to open up and talk about these things...it's really going to affect your career."

Holdsclaw suffers from depression and bipolar disorder and faced countless setbacks as a professional basketball player, many she was ashamed of.

Through the help of friends, family and former coach, Pat Summitt Holdsclaw has made it her mission to share her story and let other athletes know it's okay to struggle and it's okay to talk about it.

"I'm finally able to give to somebody else because I've invested in myself," Holdsclaw said. "It's about wanting to be better. This is really changed my life."

"I hope what they really get out of it is it's okay to have some problems, we all do to one level or another that's a part of human existence," said Swofford. "Number two it's okay to then talk about that and you have a place to go."

Commissioner John Swofford said the summit is just the beginning, the key will be the follow-up.
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