September 19, 2018
Chamique Holdsclaw, mental health activist, WNBA vet, NCAA Player of the Year, and Olympic Gold Medalist spoke at the Big Sky Behavioral Health Summit on Sept. 13, 2018 at the University of Montana Western.
The conference is designed for mental health providers, primary care providers, educators, law enforcement officials, and other community stakeholders.
Holdsclaw shares her story in hopes of encouraging others to share their own. She focused on trauma and approaches to addressing mental health, her success in basketball, and the importance of talking to someone and using therapy as an outlet.
“I have learned to be very transparent. I started to really educate people on mental health. Everyone’s journey is different, but no one should be alone. We all deserve a chance,” said Holdsclaw at the conference.
During her stay in Dillon, she spoke to the community, students, faculty and staff of Montana Western, the Montana Youth Challenge Academy, and schools in Ennis, Sheridan, and Dillon, Mont.
Holdsclaw found peace in the sport of basketball at a young age. Her grandmother encouraged her to take everything out on the basketball court. “Once I got basketball, it was my game. I played everyday for hours,” said Holdsclaw.
After a successful high school career, Holdsclaw had countless offers to play basketball, but decided to study and play at the University of Tennessee.
She played at Tennessee for Pat Summitt from 1995-99, winning three national championships with the Lady Vols. Holdsclaw was the no. 1 overall pick in the 1999 WNBA draft, a six-time WNBA All-Star, and was an Olympic Gold Medalist in the 2000 games.
In addition to sharing her passion for basketball, Holdsclaw is a mental health activist and has shared her story with many people from all over the country.
“I’ve learned that you just need to be as honest as you can. You need to live your truth. Sometimes just having someone there to listen is enough,” said Holdsclaw.
To close out her visit to Montana, Holdsclaw was a special guest at a basketball camp with elementary and middle school students, hosted by the Montana Western Women’s Basketball team.
During the camp, she shared some words of wisdom with the players.
“Girls! We are changing the world.”
“Wake up. Eat. Basketball. Repeat.”
“Not everybody gets this opportunity. Appreciate it and work hard.”