Head Coach Ryan Day and his wife, Nina, donated $1 million to Wexner Medical Center and The Ohio State University College of Medicine on Wednesday to establish the Nina and Ryan Day Resilience Fund, making the promoting mental health resources and encouraging young adults to address their general problem. welfare.
Along with university president Kristina M. Johnson and others at Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital, Ryan Day said he wants young adults and teens across the state of Ohio and of Columbus become aware of the mental health resources available and know that they are not alone. The fund will be housed in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, according to a Press release.
“What’s different here is that these are people we work with every day. These are university-aged students. They are adults,” Day said. “Certainly, this college age when Nina and I started talking about it, it’s a tough year for a lot of people. It’s a tough time for a lot of people, and so they need resources. They need to help, but also identify what those risk factors are. We would really like to be part of [that] stand in front. »
Dr. K. Luan Phan, who is a professor and director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, said the fund will serve as a “catalyst” for discussion on mental health and provide resources for those seeking help. .
“Resilience, as Coach Day said, is the ability to bounce back. Not just to bounce back, but to learn, adapt, grow and even do better than what we had before,” said Phan: “As Coach Day knows very well, we can’t play defense all the time. We have to go on the offense, and for me, the resilience game is really an offensive game.
Phan said he wanted to create a way for individuals to support each other through life’s daily stressors.
“We have to fight mental illness just like we fight cancer, just like we fight heart disease, just like we fight any other physical illness,” Phan said. “For us in our department and at Harding Hospital, mental illness and physical illness are one and the same, and I think we need to have that kind of conversation going forward.”
Mental health is a subject close to Ryan Day; his father committed suicide in 1988 when Ryan Day was only 8 years old.
Through discussions with his wife, family and others close to him, the Day family took the initiative to help others struggling with mental health issues.
“The hardest time of my life was in college — and there were no resources, and I struggled privately,” Nina Day said. “Because I had kids and was growing up with Ryan, we just decided how important it was for them to grow up in a different world where if they were experiencing any type of anxiety or depression, they had resources. and that they felt empowered to ask for help.”
Both Ryan and Nina Day have spoken publicly about the importance of maintaining overall well-being, including the former giving a keynote speech on tackling mental health stigma. in April.
The creation of the Nina and Ryan Day Resilience Fund shows their continued philanthropy as the Day family is committed to helping be at the forefront of mental health discussions by establishing the Ryan and Christina Day Fund for Pediatric and Adolescent Mental Wellness at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in 2019.
Even though many areas of life may seem to have returned to “normal” for some after the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryan Day said others may still feel its impact mentally.
“For many of our teenagers, students and young people, normal was COVID. It was a big part of their life,” Day said. “I think acknowledging that, being aware of that, the way they’re doing, because they’ve gone from, really, a lot of them, into isolation to start working with people again, and really into talking is the most important thing. ”
In Marchformer offensive lineman Harry Miller retired from football due to mental health issues.
Both Ryan and Nina Day said investing in mental health resources is a “huge privilege,” especially in the state of Ohio and the community of Columbus.
Johnson believes the fund is a sign of leadership and said offering help and support to the campus community is “powerful.”
“It’s not just a job; it is a mission. It’s a calling,” Johnson said. “I think we see it in all the staff and our faculty that when they can, they step in.”
Building resilience is central to the battle against mental health, Ryan Day said. When someone is not feeling well, he wants people to feel comfortable looking for someone they trust or a teammate, just like on the football field.
“It’s tough in the moment, but recognizing that if you break your leg, there’s a solution – it’s to go get a cast and get it to heal,” Ryan Day said. “When you have a mental affliction, it’s the same. It doesn’t sound similar, but it is. There is a solution. There is a treatment. There are different avenues we can take to help deal with this stuff, so I just think this approach is hopeful and not where you think there are no answers.