Events

NFL receiver Brandon Marshall speaks on borderline personality disorder at Menninger luncheon

Diagnosed in 2011, the athlete now works to break the stigma of mental illness


By Britni R. McAshan | May 3, 2019

Brandon Marshall has fielded opponents during a storied career in the National Football League with the Denver Broncos, the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets, but he also has battled mental health challenges for years. On Thursday, he shared his story of living with borderline personality disorder (BPD) with hundreds of guests at The Menninger Clinic’s annual luncheon.

Borderline personality disorder, or BPD, as we call it, is a brain disorder,” said John Oldham, M.D., interim chief of staff at Menninger and world-renowned expert on BPD. “It can run in families just like diabetes, heart disease and depression, and it can produce extreme suffering, impairment of functioning—especially in tangling up and disrupting relationships with others.”

Oldham went on to explain that it is called borderline because it is exactly on the border of having a major mood disorder or a major impulse control disorder. He says that two prominent features of BPD are emotion dysregulation and loss of impulse control.

The luncheon, held at the Hilton Houston Post Oak, was chaired by Jim Lykes, regional executive vice president of Origin Bank, and his wife, Kate Lykes, chief financial officer at Ascende. Raising awareness and reducing the stigma associated with mental health are personal for the couple. Their daughter, Payton, was diagnosed with BPD and Jim’s father was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1971.

“What Kate and I could not understand is why when a child is diagnosed with leukemia, the child is rushed to a children’s hospital where a team is put together to give that child the best opportunity to beat the disease,” Jim Lykes told the audience. “Yet, when a child is diagnosed with a mental illness, the child is essentially told to figure it out on their own. … That needs to change.”

The luncheon raised nearly $390,000 to support Menninger’s mission.

One fun fact about the featured speaker: He’s one of two men named Brandon Marshall who have played in the NFL in the last few years. (The other, Brandon M. Marshall, is a younger linebacker.)

Brandon T. Marshall, 35, was interviewed by Deborah Duncan, host and senior producer of Great Day Houston which airs on KHOU11, the local CBS affiliate. Duncan also has struggled with mental health challenges.

Marshall grappled for years before his BPD diagnosis. After a series of events, Marshall’s agent, Kennard McGuire, told the wide receiver that he had to get help. At McGuire’s urging, Marshall flew to Boston to receive treatment at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts with the late John Gunderson, M.D., a pioneer in the diagnosis, treatment and research of BPD.

“Dr. John Gunderson changed my life, saved my life and now he is working through me to save others,” Marshall said to the audience. “At McLean, I learned that communication was a skill, an art form, that was supposed to be taught. …We didn’t have that growing up.”

For most of his life, mental health to him meant mental toughness—being the tough athlete that everyone expected him to be, he explained.

Now, eight years out of treatment, Brandon and his wife, Michi Marshall, work tirelessly to end the stigma surrounding mental health with their foundation, Project 375. The organization’s slogan? “The way people think about mental health is crazy.”

“We want to take mental health from a taboo topic to an everyday conversation,” Brandon Marshall said. “It is at the forefront of our country and now we need to change the narrative and break the stigma. People are talking about it, but are we talking about it the right way?”

He added that he and his wife have taught their children communication, validation and meditation—which he called “superpowers”—to deal with their emotions.

Oldham applauded Brandon Marshall for his transparency.

“Stigma surrounds all forms of brain disorders. It takes phenomenal courage to seek help—to tell your family the thing you have kept secret, to tell your friends and especially to walk up to any podium and tell your story,” the BPD expert said. “But courageous and outspoken evidence like Brandon’s represent the most powerful antidote to the stigma that stubbornly clings to conditions like BPD.”




Social Posts

profile_image

Harris Health System

@harrishealth

George V. Masi talks to media about the 20th Trauma Survivors Celebration hosted to recognize patients treated at #BenTaubHospital & #LBJHospital trauma centers with partners from @bcmhouston @UTHealth @HoustonFire #TraumaLeader https://t.co/f0jj01yDjr

48 mins ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Page County VA receives 2019 Ford Flex for Veteran transportation https://t.co/Uje88HYVi8 via @KMABroadcasting

2 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

David Jaffray, Ph.D., from @UHN to join MD Anderson as Chief Technology and Digital Officer late this summer: https://t.co/2y4TNnS1Oj. #endcancer

2 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

“As a parent, I strive to do what I can to protect my children and their friends from ever facing a cancer diagnosis,” says former convenience store owner Sam Susser.Here’s why he’s proud to see Texas raise the age for tobacco sale to 21: https://t.co/FVGuiVJXAH #endcancer

3 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Event gives Veterans 'an opportunity' to teach https://t.co/rLFnvZxmF7 via @AmericanLegion

4 hours ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

After more than 47 years of extraordinary service to UTHealth, George M. Stancel, PhD, has announced his retirement. #ThankYouDrStancel for your contributions, your impact, and your commitment to UTHealth. https://t.co/zz7biEVQaC #ManyFacesOfUTHealth https://t.co/m5IwXP2WmZ

4 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

The numbers of Americans with health consequences from obesity continues to grow. See how we as a medical school are teaching our students to help prevent and treat this disease. https://t.co/Gl4Um007LB #obesity

4 hours ago
profile_image

Houston Methodist

@MethodistHosp

@MrJeremyJackson @PasadenaHigh @AthleticsPISD @CathySupak Thanks for sharing

5 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

A phase III trial led by our @DQBMD found combining busulfan with melphalan may be effective as conditioning newly diagnosed #multiplemyeloma patients receiving an autologous #stemcelltransplant: https://t.co/pliwgCBYxb @CancerNetwrk #MMSM #endcancer

5 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Today we honor Army Veteran Jason Swindle in remembrance of his service and sacrifice for our country https://t.co/EgIX7LRw5X #VeteranOfTheDay #CarryTheLoad #NoVeteranEverDies

6 hours ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

Amar Yousif, MBA, named new VP of Information Technology, Chief Information Officer at @UTHealth: https://t.co/dtNUDXzoei https://t.co/wfbuWKLW3l

6 hours ago
profile_image

Texas Children's

@TexasChildrens

Several nurses at @TexasChildrens recently received their Doctor of Nursing Practice. Join us in congratulating them on this incredible achievement! To learn more, visit: https://t.co/2kSDVJ834B #texaschildrens

6 hours ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

Can #vitamins really make your skin look better? https://t.co/T83LNeh08H

7 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

RT @Rice_BIOE: Rice bioengineer Jeff Tabor (@LabTabor) reflects on accessing nature's treasure trove of biosensors in a new "Nature" blog p…

8 hours ago
profile_image

Texas Children's

@TexasChildrens

Dr. Julie Kaplow, chief of psychology and director of the Trauma and Grief Center at Texas Children's Hospital, discusses the importance of mental health support in public schools:https://t.co/cF2CZMfBdF #texaschildrens

8 hours ago