Blake Anderson, USU Football, announce a mental health awareness campaign

Editor’s Note: This article contains content related to suicide and mental health issues. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue, you can contact the on-campus Counseling and Mental Health Services at 435.797.1012 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.

LOGAN – “Mental health is important. I encourage you, if you or someone you know is hurting – come in, speak up, and do whatever you can to help them find the resources they need. Silence is too expensive.”

Utah State head coach Blake Anderson announced in a video message Monday that Utah State Football is dedicating this week’s football game against UNLV to raising mental health awareness.

In February, Cason Anderson, one of Blake Anderson’s sons, committed suicide.

“Our lives changed forever on February 28, 2022, just six months ago,” Anderson said. “When I got a call from my brother on a Monday morning saying Cason didn’t show up for work this morning and no one can find him.”

Cason’s family had reached out to him in the days leading up to his death. On Thursday, Blake had a conversation where they joked and had fun. On Friday night, Cason played video games with his brother and friends, even telling them he wanted to play games again the next day.

“He was always the biggest smile in the room. Biggest laugh in the room. Always the prankster, always the sarcastic prankster. This cason was only cason. But at some point in the middle of the night when everyone had left, Cason went to a place that was so dark that he didn’t want to do it anymore. He didn’t want to be here anymore and took his own life. And my brother had to call and tell me we found Cason. He is gone. He killed himself.”

“Our lives changed forever that morning. A piece of me and a piece of our family is gone. It will never come back. Questions are all that’s left, why didn’t I see it? How could I have helped more? what could i have done I mean, he didn’t let any of us know. There were no red flags. There were no warning signs. He always told you he was fine. When you’re hurt When dealing with dark thoughts. If you are depressed. If you’re dealing with grief so hard that you don’t know what to do with it, please contact us. There are people around you who want to help you. There are people that God has placed in your life who want to carry your burden. They would much rather carry your burden than your coffin.”

During the video, Anderson addressed the audience and encouraged them to support the team in their efforts to help those who are struggling and raise awareness.

“We would love for you to join us in supporting this cause and hopefully helping those in need,” Anderson said.

In the video, Anderson also explained how he viewed mental health growing up.

“I’m probably not that different from most guys my age,” Anderson said. “I grew up in an era and time when, as a man, you didn’t show that you were hurt. You didn’t show you were in pain or you didn’t cry. It was the get up mentality, dust off, tape off, back to work.”

Anderson’s recent mental health studies began when his wife, Wendy Anderson, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She died in 2019.

“Grief used (for) my family in a way we’d never seen before,” Anderson said. “We didn’t really know what to do with it, so we leaned on Christ. Our faith belongs to him. We leaned on the people around us that God put in our way. And honestly, I took the same approach that you get up, dust yourself off and move on.

After this tragedy, Anderson’s father died six months later. A year later, his brother was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.

The Aggies meet the Rebels at Maverik Stadium at 5pm on Saturday. You can listen to the game on Aggie Radio 92.3 FM.

Watch the video below to hear Anderson tell his story himself.

Featured image from the 2021 game at UNLV. Photo by Bailey Rigby.

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