USU’s Blake Anderson Emphasizes Importance Of Mental Health

Sep 19, 2022, 6:19 PM
Utah State University football coach Blake Anderson talks with a referee during a game in Logan on Friday Oct 1, 2021. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah State head football coach Blake Anderson expressed the importance of mental health and shared stories of his personal struggles in life in a video posted on the Aggies’ social media.

On Monday, September 19, Anderson announced that his team was dedicating their Week 4 game against UNLV to raising awareness for mental health.

During the 6:47 video posted to Utah State football’s social media accounts, the head coach shared details about his personal life, difficult challenges his family has faced, and stressed the importance of mental health.

“We have had a lot of good conversations about this something that we all feel very strongly about,” he began his comments. “We’d love for you to join with us and support this cause and hopefully help those in need.”

Anderson highlighted that he “grew up in an era at a time where as a man, you didn’t show that you were hurting you. You didn’t show that you had pain or you didn’t cry you.”

The coach continued by saying that mental health wasn’t a topic of conversation for his family during earlier 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 way following his battle. Six months later, the coach’s father also passed away. Then, about a year later, Anderson’s brother was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. Anderson’s son, Cason, had moved out of state to work for his uncle. In February, the head coach received a phone call from his brother that would change the Anderson’s lives forever. Anderson’s brother said that Cason died by suicide.

“There were no warning signs. He always made sure to tell you that he was okay,” Anderson said. “If you are hurting, if you are dealing with dark thoughts, if you’re depressed, if you’re dealing with grief so heavy that you don’t know what to do with it, please reach out. There are people around you that want to help you.”

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

“Mental Health Matters,” Anderson finished. “I encourage you, if you or someone you know is hurting, step up, speak out and do everything you can to help them find the resources they need. staying silent, is too costly. Thank you for listening and I pray that those that are listening if you’re hurting that you want to wait.”

Leading up to Utah State’s game against UNLV, the Aggies will “be putting out as many things on our social media platform as we can, in terms of support for those that are struggling.”

Anderson, 53, is currently in his second season leading USU’s football program. He currently owns a 63-42 record as a head coach, including 12-5 at Utah State. The Aggies are 1-2 to start their season.

Utah State’s game against UNLV is at home 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, it is always available with SafeUT, a crisis chat and tip line. 833-372-3388

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