Cleveland Takes on Mental Health

Cleveland Cavaliers host Teen Mental Health and Safety Summit for teens all over the state.


(Photo Credits: Kevin Love Fund)

Cleveland Takes on Mental Health with Kevin Love.

Leah Canter, Staff Writer

Kevin Love and team therapist, Dr. Pandya, share their experiences with mental health. (Photo Credits: Kevin Love Fund)

“Mental health is an invisible thing but it touches all of us at some point or another. It’s part of life.” – Kevin Love

On October 10, 2022, the Cleveland Cavaliers foundation held its first Teen Mental Health and Safety Summit with over 1,000 students from all over Ohio.  Brecksville Broadview Heights High School was one of many schools to attend this event and 100 students learned how to break the silence and take care of their mental health.

Kevin Love, center and power forward for the Cavs, was one of the speakers to show up alongside the team’s therapist, Dr. Mayur Pandya.  Love spoke about all the things he wished he knew about mental health when he was younger. The event was designed to help people with these types of struggles.

18 different organizations were present to talk about how their organizations are making an impact on the world today.  The organizations ranged from Riley’s Angels, an organization that focuses on positive dog training methods to teach you and your dog how to better communicate with each other, to the U.S. National Guard.

In addition to the many organizations that were at this event, they also had many breakout sessions focused on mental health 101, the warning signs of suicide, ending the silence and stigma around mental health, yoga classes, Kevin Love Fund Social-Emotional – Learning curriculum teacher training, and teens mental health substance misuse COD.

Not only were there numerous different classes to choose from, but multiple public speakers came out to talk about how mental health has affected them and the lives of those around them. 

The Cavs foundation hosted Javier Sanchez, comedian, and poet, and Stephanie Marquesano, founder of The Harris Project. 

The Harris Project was created for teens’ mental health and substance misuse, COD.  Co-Occurring Disorders (COD) means a person has both a mental health disorder(s) and misuses substances like alcohol, prescription medications, and other illicit products.

According to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness,

Over 10.2 million people have COD, yet most have never heard of it.

22% of teens ages 13-18 have a diagnosable mental and/or addictive disorder.

50% of all cases of mental illness begin by the age of 14, and 75% by the age of 24.

70% of those who misuse substances have COD.

NAMI is a nonprofit organization that was initially founded in 1979 as a grassroots group by family members of people diagnosed with mental illness. 

“We provide mental health resources, education, and support throughout the entire community, with a grassroots approach to ending the stigma.  Our program involves those who have lived through the experience, which is so powerful. Building human connections.” said Melissa Coochi, LSW, mental health specialist and trained health and safety officer, from NAMI Greater Cleveland.

NAMI was also one of the various organizations at the Teen Mental Health and Safety Summit where they passed out packets on how to end the silence and how to help a friend.

“I am trying to join the movement of ending the stigma of mental health for all.  I am also trying to create a diverse community where we serve all people equally,” said Coochi when asked what she is trying to achieve while helping those in Cleveland who struggle with a mental illness.

Group of teens taking the mental health yoga class. (Photo Credits: Kevin Love Fund)

But, Coochi isn’t the only one who is trying to create a diverse, safe community. The Brecksville Broadview Heights High School has an amazing group of guidance counselors who are here to help anyone who is struggling with their mental health.

BBHHS  guidance counselor, Halle Holub, once said, “Let yourself feel your feels.”. 

If you or someone you know needs support, you can connect with The Crisis Text Line by texting 741741 or calling 988.