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USU's Blake Anderson stresses the importance of mental health

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Salt Lake City Utah football head Blake Anderson expressed the importance of mental health and shared his personal life struggles in a video posted to the Aggies’ social media.

On Monday, September 19, Anderson announced that his team was dedicating its fourth week match against UNLV to raising mental health awareness.

During the 6:47 video posted on Utah’s social media accounts, the coach shared details about his personal life and tough challenges his family faced and stressed the importance of mental health.

He began his comments: “We’ve had a lot of good conversations about this thing that we all feel so strongly about.” “We would like you to join us and support this cause and hope it helps those in need.”

Anderson explained, “He grew up in an age when you didn’t show as a man that you hurt you. You didn’t show that you were in pain or that you didn’t cry.”

The coach went on to say that mental health was not a topic of discussion for his family during the early stages of his time as a father of three. Mental health wasn’t something his family talked about until six years ago when Anderson’s wife, Wendy, was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer. In 2019, she passed after his fight. Six months later, the coach’s father also passed away. Then, about a year later, Anderson’s brother was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Anderson’s son, Casson, had moved out of the state to work for his uncle. In February, the head coach received a phone call from his brother that would change Anderson’s life forever. Anderson’s brother said Casson had committed suicide.

There were no warning signs. “He was always keen to tell you he was fine,” Anderson said. “If you are in pain, if you are dealing with dark thoughts, if you are depressed, if you are dealing with sadness so severe that you don’t know what to do with it, please reach out. There are people around you who want to help you.”

The coach then ended his message by encouraging people to “step up” and “speak out” about mental health.

Anderson finished “Mental health is important.” “I encourage you, if you or someone you know is getting hurt, step up and speak up and do whatever you can to help them find the resources they need. Silence is so expensive. Thank you for listening and I invite those who listen if you are hurting to wait.”

In the lead-up to the Utah State vs UNLV game, the Aggies will “put as many things as possible on our social media platform, in terms of supporting those who are struggling.”

Anderson, 53, is currently in his second season leading the US University football program. He currently has 63-42 as the head coach, including a 12-5 at Utah. Aggies are 1-2 to start their season.

The Utah State vs UNLV home game will take place on Saturday, September 24 at 5 p.m. (MDT). The game will be broadcast on CBS and KSL Sports Zone.

If you or someone you know is struggling or needs support, he’s always available with SafeUT, crisis chat and a guideline. 833-372-3388