Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott opened up and shared details about his personal struggle with mental health during a luncheon in Dallas Tuesday.
Prescott, who was the keynote speaker in a conversation with NBC 5’s Laura Harris at Metrocare Services' Meal for the Minds luncheon, shared personal stories and insight into his struggles with mental health, what mental health has meant in his family and what he is doing right now to keep mental health top of mind for people in all walks of life.
“It sounds cliché, but really, I try to always find strength in adversity,” Prescott said to a room of about 300 people Tuesday in the event’s first return to in-person events since the pandemic started. “It was just so important for me to be here today just to share with you all. Dealing with my own battles, short-term battles with depression and anxiety. Then, losing my brother [Jace] to suicide. Today would have been my brother’s 34th birthday.”
Prescott said that he has been working through his Faith, Fight, Finish Foundation to release the stigma that comes with mental health and rather shine a light on where help is available. He is currently working to make that help even more accessible through a new legislative push.
“Time is sensitive. When people need help with their mental health they need it now. We’re doing everything that we can. I know that the Faith, Fight, Finish Foundation has partnered with others and pushing toward legislation with the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention to create a three-digit helpline, like 911, but this would be 988. On the other side of the phone would be trained professionals to help you or if you know someone who needs help,” Prescott said.
He said that it is his hope that people see his vulnerability when it comes to mental health and understand that a little empathy for others and what they may be going through can go a long way.
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“Me being vulnerable and being genuine and being transparent is great for my platform. As much as I get to talk about it, it is like a therapy session for me too. Just to be able to do that and feel good, and feel good and whole and know who I am, is amazing. I want to inspire and share and maybe even save someone’s life. I am forever blessed to be able to do other things at once,” Prescott said.
Prescott’s candid conversation was at the forefront as Metrocare celebrates 55 years on the front lines of working to bring quality, accessible mental health and developmental disability services to adults and children in Dallas County.
According to Dr. John Burruss, CEO of Metrocare Services, it's about getting the word out early and often. Especially when it comes to communities of color.
“Dak is really important to this mission because we are seeing a startling rise in suicide in Black men and Black boys,” said Burruss. “I’m talking about 12, 15 and 17-years-old, and that has risen more than any other group in the last 10 years. So, getting the story out there from a face that is not always telling that story. Having somebody who can make that powerful statement is important,” Burruss said.