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Health News Florida

Magic Johnson talks to teens about mental health in Tallahassee

earvin magic johnson.png
The Florida Channel
Magic Johnson talks to high school athletes about mental health during an appearance at the Old Capitol in Tallahassee on Nov. 2, 2021. Several students said learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, social media and pressure to perform academically and in sports can bring anxiety.

During an event in Florida’s Old Capitol, the hoops legend asked a group of high school athletes to talk about pressures they face and told them,"What’s important is to know that there are resources to help,”

Basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson joined health care executives and the secretary of the state Department of Children and Families to put a spotlight Tuesday on “breaking the stigma” around children’s struggles with mental health.

Johnson spoke to a group of high school athletes during an event in Florida’s Old Capitol in Tallahassee

“Today was just a great time for us to make sure we had an open mic for young people to express their feelings. We just have to come together as a community, as a state and as lawmakers to do something about it and help them,” Johnson said, speaking to reporters after the event.

Johnson asked the teens to talk about pressures they face in school and athletics. Several students said learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, social media and the pressure to perform academically and in sports can bring anxiety.

“People sometimes struggle, but that’s OK. Kids sometimes struggle, and that’s OK. What’s important is to know that there are resources to help,” Johnson told the group.

Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris encouraged the students to treat mental health struggles in the same way they would physical ailments.

“Just like when you stub your toe, or, there’s a lot of athletes here, if you hurt your feet or your arm, you go to the doctor. You get help. You should feel the same way, and we should empower those who are having feelings of depression or feelings of unwellness to raise their hand and seek help,” Harris said.

Bolstering mental health resources for children has been a priority for state lawmakers in recent years. Legislators put $120 million in the state budget for this fiscal year to help school districts address youth mental-health issues.