Ryan Day lost his father to suicide in 1988, when Ryan was nine years old. That event significantly shaped Day’s life and work ethic.
More than 30 years later, Day is now the head football coach at Ohio State, one of the most sought after coaching positions in all of American sports. And Day plans to use his platform to address an issue which has affected him so closely.
Wednesday morning, Day and his wife, Christina, announced the creation of the Day Fund for Pediatric and Adolescent Mental Wellness at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Day pledged $100,000 to help launch the campaign and break the stigma attached to mental illness. According to Children’s, one in every five children has a significantly impactful mental disorder.
In addition, Day says Ohio State will employ two sports psychologists and two athletic counselors to help his players navigate stress, anxiety and other mental health issues.
“We are excited to join the national On Our Sleeves movement in support of children and young adults living with mental illness,” said Ryan Day, head coach of The Ohio State University football team. “There is a vitally important connection between mental health and physical health and we want to help children and young adults who do not wear their thoughts on their sleeves when it comes to mental health issues.”
“When Ryan and I first heard about On Our Sleeves, we immediately knew we wanted to be part of the movement,” said Christina Day. “We look forward to making an impact and starting a conversation about our children’s mental health both locally and nationally about an often overlooked and vastly underfunded component of pediatric health. By raising our voices about this vital cause, we can help reduce the stigma and make an impact for children and adolescents who need help.”
“We are grateful for this generous commitment from the Day family,” said Steve Testa, president of Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation. “This fund will have a lasting impact for children and adolescents living with a mental illness, an area that has traditionally been underfunded. By joining our movement, Coach Day and Christina are helping to break stigmas, improve prevention activities, enhance clinical care, and create a brighter tomorrow for children and families.”
To donate and learn more about The Ryan and Christina Day Fund for Pediatric and Adolescent Mental Wellness, visit onoursleeves.org/dayfamilyfund.
If you or your child need immediate help due to having suicidal thoughts, go to your local emergency room immediately, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or you can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.