COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Before Saturday’s game against Maryland, Ohio State football coach Ryan Day shared his mental health journey with Fox and ESPN, including the loss of his father, Raymond, who died by suicide when Day was 8 years old.
In the story, Day said he had never really confronted his past until a recruiting visit to an empty high school in a rural Ohio town. The school was empty due to a string of suicides in Stark County, where 12 adolescents had died by suicide in the span of less than a year. Day said that moment made him realize he needed to use his platform to share his story and break the stigma around mental health struggles.
Two years ago, Day and his wife, Christina, opened the Christina and Ryan Day Fund for Pediatric and Adolescent Mental Wellness and were instrumental in getting the football program to hire four full-time mental health professionals.
The Days have also been huge proponents of Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s campaign “On Our Sleeves,” a national movement to break stigmas around children’s mental health.
Three days after the story aired, Day said he’s received a lot of positive feedback, including Nationwide Children’s Hospital reaching out to tell him donations keep coming into the “On Our Sleeves” campaign.
“They’ve received a lot of positive feedback and a lot of donations, which is really important for what they do there at the behavioral health pavilion,” Day said. “It wasn’t easy to [share] but I feel better afterward for doing it and again maybe it helped somebody out there.”