Washington (CNN) - NBA basketball player Ron Artest came to Washington Thursday to help raise awareness for mental health initiatives and to discuss the issue with members of Congress.
Mr. Artest participated in a panel that featured mental health advocates and Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-California. The congresswoman introduced the Mental Health in Schools Act, which would provide funding to public schools to have a mental health services on-site.
The NBA star discussed his experience with receiving mental health services during the panel discussion.
"I've personally experienced the benefits and transformation a person can have, just by having access to qualified mental health professionals," Artest said according to a press release from Napolitano's office.
In an interview with CNN, Artest spoke of his long history with counseling saying he received his first counseling session as a 13 year-old and continued it through high school, college, and now as an NBA player.
Last season Artest won an NBA championship with his current team, the Los Angeles Lakers, and decided to raffle off his NBA championship ring to raise funds for mental health issues. The raffle raised over $650,000 for various mental health charities. Artest has also personally donated funds to mental health organizations.
Asked if he misses the ring he said, "No, it's going to a good cause so I don't really miss it."
Despite his work with the worthy cause, Artest may be best know for his 2004 73-game suspension when he got into a fight with basketball fans during his time as an Indianapolis Pacers player.
–CNN's Saundra Young contributed to this report