In an interview airing this weekend on "In Depth with Graham Bensinger," Dak Prescott, the Dallas Cowboy's quarterback, opened up about seeking mental health support in the off-season to work through anxiety and depression he experienced after his brother's death in April and the coronavirus pandemic.
For many, talking about mental health is still a taboo subject, but athletes like Kevin Love, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, and Prescott are being vulnerable and transparent as they speak about mental health conditions that will impact more than 50 percent of people at some point in their lifetime, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
"When you have thoughts that you've never had, I think that's more so than anything a chance to realise it and recognise it, to be vulnerable about it," Prescott said in an interview with ESPN.
"I think it's huge to talk. I think it's huge to get help. And it saves lives."
Prescott explained that he was able to talk to his family and people around him about the emotions he was feeling, adding that he also reached out to teammates, friends, and worked with a psychologist to have more conversations about mental health. "I think being open about it and not holding those feelings in was one of the better things for me," he said.
He's a people person who likes to make others smile and be a source of inspiration, and explained that not being able to be around people due to the shelter in place orders was tough. "As I explained, it creates new emotions. Emotions I never felt before but obviously dealt with," he said. What helped Prescott work through his anxiety and depression was being open about his feelings and sharing what he was going through with others.
"Mental health is a huge issue and a real thing in our world right now. . . I think it's huge to talk. I think it's huge to get help. And it saves lives," he said. We're happy Prescott is using his platform to be candid and honest about his experiences with mental health, and we hope that it inspires others to champion seeking mental health support.
If you are feeling anxious or depressed and need help finding help or resources, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (1-800-950-6264) have resources available.