Kragthorpe: BYU’s Tanner Mangum discloses his issues with ‘mild depression and anxiety’

First Published      Last Updated Apr 04 2017 12:35 pm

Nearly every major story about BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum mentions his happy outlook and relentless optimism. Mangum has revealed those traits are a product of a conscious team effort.

Mangum wrote in a social media post Monday, "Not many people know that I suffer from mild depression and anxiety." Daily medication and regular counseling sessions enable him to deal with the condition, he said.

He acknowledged the disclosure "might be surprising," considering his outward appearance that hides "personal struggles underneath the surface."

That's true. The natural reaction of any of us who have written about Mangum's disposition might be to think we were tricked. That's not the proper response. What he chose to reveal about himself, and when to do it, were personal decisions.

Mangum deserves support and credit for going public with his condition, with the timing tied to Mental Health Awareness Week on the BYU campus.

He didn't have to do it. He certainly could have waited to say anything until after his college career, if ever. Former BYU quarterback Steve Young spoke of his severe case of childhood separation anxiety in his recent autobiography, "QB: My Life Behind the Spiral," published long after his NFL career ended.

"Everyone who knew me lived it," Young said in a Salt Lake Tribune interview to promote the book, which detailed how he sought therapy even as an NFL star.

The point is, the timing of such a disclosure is completely personal. Mangum believes he can help people in similar situations, saying, "Let's erase the stigma surrounding mental health."

He will have a platform in that quest, to whatever extent he wishes to use it. Interviews with Mangum, beginning with BYU's Football Media Day in late June, will cover as much of this subject as he wants to address during his remaining two seasons of college football and the NFL career that may follow.

He's not ashamed to use the term "mental illness." That attitude is healthy for himself and others who deal with it.


Twitter: @tribkurt