BYU football’s Tanner Mangum opens up about anxiety, depression on social media

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Ari Davis
Tanner Mangum throws the ball during the spring scrimmage. Mangum’s social media post on anxiety and depression has gone viral. (Ari Davis)

BYU football quarterback Tanner Mangum took to Instagram to help spread awareness on men’s mental health.

It was men’s mental health week on the BYU campus and the Cougar signal caller posted a photo and lengthy caption describing his own bouts with anxiety and depression.

He then reposted it on his Twitter account.

“It’s Mental Health Awareness Week here at BYU,” Mangum wrote. “And I want to speak out about something that I consider very personal and real. Not many people know that I suffer from mild depression and anxiety. I take antidepressants every day to help with my condition, have visits with a counselor, and I am not ashamed; on the contrary, I am proud to embrace my own personal journey, accept and love myself – flaws and all. I am grateful to be able to raise my voice, and stand up for those who experience similar struggles. This might be surprising to many, due to my normally optimistic, outgoing and happy personality, but I hope we can understand that just because someone is beaming brightly on the outside, doesn’t mean they are free from their own personal struggles underneath the surface. We are all human, each with unique battles, and I promise that these battles are better fought together, not alone. Mental illness is one of my personal battles and I want to offer my love and support to all those who suffer in one way or another. You are not alone. There is help. Let’s focus on accepting and love one another for who we are and celebrate our humanity. It’s a beautiful thing. Let’s erase the stigma surrounding mental health.”

The tweet currently has more than 3,500 retweets and nearly 900 likes.

Shortly after Mangum’s post, teammate Jonny Linehan followed suit, offering to talk to anyone struggling.

“When I was in high school, one of my friends decided to take his own life,” Linehan wrote. “It shook the whole country. Everyone was shattered. We all thought it was a bad dream. We all face different battles in life and it’s easy to forget about what others are going through. I want to make it my goal and priority to be there for anyone if they need to talk. Being silent isn’t always being strong. Real strength is admitting your weaknesses and allowing others to help. There are people who love you and care about you. You are never alone.”

The BYU football team is currently taking part in offseason workouts. The program’s Media Day will be held in late June. The Cougars’ regular season begins on Saturday, Aug. 26 when they will host the Portland State Vikings.

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