COLUMBUS (WCMH) — D.J. Carton has received an outpouring of public support in the wake of his announcement Thursday that he is temporarily stepping away from basketball to deal with some mental health issues.
The Ohio State freshman guard issued a statement on Twitter saying he wanted to be transparent about why he is taking a break:
“I have been suffering with mental health issues for a couple of years. I have been through a lot. I’m disappointed to say I’m not 100% right now. I am not doing my teammates justice if I don’t work on this now.”
Fans from across the Big Ten responded with tweets including:
- “As a fan from a rival school, mad respect for this Tweet!”
- “Badger nation behind you as well”
- “Michigan fan here, totally respect you for coming out with this.”
- “Buckeye nation has your back DJ. Focus on you and get yourself right.”
- “Indiana Fan here! Mental health is always way more important than basketball.”
- “Everyone’s got ya back DJ you’re never alone”
Karri Schildmeyer, who helps lead the Nationwide Children’s mental health awareness campaign called “On Our Sleeves,” said the outpouring of support for Carton is encouraging.
“It shows that people are caring about this issue and that they know it’s ok to talk about it and I really feel like he’s going to change that trajectory of the conversation for other people just like him,” Schildmeyer said. “I mean, that’s courageous, that’s a hard thing for a young man and a tremendous athlete at a top university to say.”
Carton has struggled some in his freshman season on the basketball court. However, he had his biggest game of the season earlier this week when he scored 17 points in a win against Northwestern.
OSU announced Carton would miss Saturday’s game against Indiana.
In his statement, Carton said: “I am doing everything in my power to strengthen my mental health. I will fight for my team and buckeye nation and I will come back stronger! If you are going through mental health issues, I have learned through this you are loved and valued.”
Schildmeyer said the positive response to high profile examples like D.J. Carton helps to reduce the stigma often attached to mental health.
“I want him to feel better,” Schildmeyer said. “I want him to know that we’re all rallying behind him and seeing the positive feedback he’s getting, that, that’s what people are caring about.”