Mental health is a common struggle that many people, teenagers included, often deal with. A stigma currently exists around the topic that makes it hard to discuss, facing anyone from teenagers to NFL players.
Dak Prescott’s older brother, Jace, passed away this past April. Prescott, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback, spoke on how it was important to him to seek help dealing with feelings of anxiety and depression.
The stigma around mental health is clearly represented in the NFL. Prescott is among the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and yet he is one of the few players to speak publicly on his own struggles with mental health.
Over the past few months, all sorts of people, NFL quarterbacks included, have begun to see struggles in their mental wellbeing more than ever. Fears of COVID-19, the absence of a normal daily routine, and new social distancing habits have been significant factors in determining mental health.
Prescott is taking a big step in sharing his struggles with the world, which certainly put him in a vulnerable state. The overwhelming majority of responses were positive and supportive of Prescott. It’s a big step in the right direction for destigmatizing mental health, especially for men.
Depression and anxiety aren’t just a problem for adults. Many high schoolers face depression and anxiety every day. 29% of students said they felt tense or nervous about their day nearly every day. It’s safe to say that high school students deal with these issues daily. Prescott opening up to the public is a great way to show that you are not alone.
However, some people weren’t as receptive of Prescott’s message as others. Sports reporter Skip Bayless commented on Prescott’s vulnerability suggesting that it showed signs of “weakness.” FOX News has since condemned Bayless’ remarks on the matter.
It shouldn’t matter who you are, a struggle with mental health is worth talking about. Whether you are an NFL quarterback or an OHS student, your mental health matters.
Bayless clearly shows his black and white perspective on mental health in his comments, and they are a reminder of how far we still have to go before mental health can truly be destigmatized. As long as there are advocates like Prescott sharing their stories, we can be hopeful to see change in the world.
It’s refreshing to see Dak Prescott use his platform to speak about his own struggles and let others know that they are not alone. Prescott should be an example for others in destigmatizing mental health and helping people get the support they need.