Head coach Ryan Day and his wife, Nina, made a $1 million donation to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine on Wednesday to establish the Nina and Ryan Day Resilience Fund, promoting mental health resources and encouraging young people to address holistic well-being.
Alongside University President Kristina M. Johnson and others at the Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital, Ryan Day said he wants youth and teens around Ohio State and Columbus to be aware of the mental health resources available and to know that they are not alone. The fund will be placed in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, according to a news release.
“The thing that’s different here is that these are the people we work with every day. These are college age students. These are adults,” Day said. “Of course, that college age when Nina and I started talking about it, that’s a tough year for a lot of people. This is a difficult stretch for many people, and so they need resources. They should help, but then identify what those risk factors are. We would love to be a part of it [that] to get ahead.”
Dr. K. Luan Phan, who is professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, said the fund will serve as a “catalyst” for discussion about 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, thrive and even do better than what we had before,” Phan said. “As Coach Day knows all too well, we don’t we can play defense all the time. We have to get offense, and to me, the resilience game is really an offensive game.”
Phan said she wants to create a way for individuals to support each other through life’s daily stressors.
“We have to fight mental illness like we fight cancer, like we fight heart disease, like we fight any other physical disease,” Phan said. “For us in our department and Harding Hospital, mental illness, physical illness are one and the same, and I think we need to have that conversation going forward.”
Mental health is a topic close to Ryan’s Day; his father died by suicide in 1988 when Ryan Day was only 8 years old.
Through discussions with his wife, family and others close to him, Dita’s family has taken the initiative to help others with mental health issues.
“The hardest point in my life was in college — and there were no resources, and I struggled privately,” Nina Day said. “As I had children and grew up with Ryan, we just decided how important it was for them to grow up in a different world where if they experience any kind of anxiety or depression, they have resources and feel empowered to seek help. .”
Ryan and Nina Day have spoken publicly about the importance of maintaining overall wellness, including the former giving a keynote address on breaking the stigma of mental health. in Aprill.
The creation of The Nina and Ryan Day Resilience Fund demonstrates their continued philanthropy as the Day family made a commitment to help be at the forefront of the mental health discussion by establishing the Ryan and Christina Day Fund for pediatric and adolescent mental well-being in Nationwide Children’s Hospital. in 2019.
Although many areas of life may seem to have returned to “normal” for some following the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryan Day said others can still feel its impact mentally.
“For many of our teenagers, college students and young adults, the normal was COVID. That was a big part of their lives,” Day said. “I think knowing that, being aware of that, of how they’re going, because they’ve gone through, really, a lot of it, the isolation so far going back to working with people, and really talking about it is the biggest thing. “
In MarchFormer striker Harry Miller retired from football due to challenges with his mental health.
Ryan and Nina Day both said investing in mental health resources is a “tremendous privilege,” especially at Ohio State and in the Columbus community.
Johnson believes the fund is a sign of leadership and said providing help and support around the campus community is “powerful.”
“This is not just a job; it’s a mission. It’s a calling,” Johnson said. “I think we see that all over our staff and faculty that, when they can, they step up.”
Building resilience is a focal point in the battle against mental health, Ryan Day said. When someone is not feeling well, he wants individuals to feel comfortable looking for a trusted person or teammate, just like on the football field.
“It’s hard right now, but realizing that if you break your leg, there’s a solution — it’s to go in and get a cast and heal it,” Ryan Day said. “When you have a mental disorder, it’s similar. It doesn’t look similar, but it is. There is a solution. There is treatment. There are different paths we can take to help deal with those kinds of things, so I think that approach is hopeful and not where you think there are no answers.”