Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott’s move off the field has garnered praise.
Prescott opened up for the first time about losing his brother to suicide, as well as his feelings of anxiety and depression before and after his devastating loss.
They are struggles Tye Harris knows well.
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“I’m definitely proud,” said Harris. “More proud to be a Dallas Cowboy fan and to be a Dak Prescott fan now that he’s opened up about mental health because it’s one of those things that people don’t like to talk about.”
Harris is a recording artist and Oak Cliff native who is open about his own mental health struggles and past attempts on his life.
Harris was featured in a 2019 article by NBC 5’s media partners at The Dallas Morning News analyzing troubling statistics showing a rising number of suicides among young Black and Latino men in Texas over the past 10 years.
“It all started with me speaking up about it,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to lean on your peers because your peers, for me, especially my peers, my family, they were people who I could lean on and support me through it.”
United Way Metropolitan Dallas is also praising Prescott for coming forward with such a personal journey.
“For public figures to speak up about their own experiences and their family experiences helps make it normal for everyone else,” said Susan Hoff, who oversees program services for the organization.
The hope is speaking openly about mental health issues will continue to break down the stigma associated with the topic.
“Being able to speak up about that, encourage people to get help and understand that this is an issue that we all at some level will face at some point in our lives is a gift to the community,” she said.
Harris vows to continue using his platform to reach others, offering help and hope.
“Please don’t be afraid to reach out. You are not weak,” he said. “You’re not alone in this.”
He calls Prescott a leader for stepping up to help others, too.
“If he can go through it, I can go through it,” said Harris. “If he’s being strong, I can be strong. And that’s good to see and very refreshing to see.”
While the full effects of COVID-19 on mental health are not yet known, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in August found 25% of people 18-25 reported considering taking their own life.
‘Community-level intervention and prevention efforts, including health communication strategies, designed to reach these groups could help address various mental health conditions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic,’ stated the CDC.
If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.