JAKE’S TAKE: Bigger than football

MARSHALL - On Wednesday, people across the globe recognized Oct. 10th as “World Mental Health Day” in order to bring awareness to the issues stemming from mental illness and the stigma that often surrounds it.

Here in Minnesota, the issue hit especially close to home when we saw the harsh reality of what a debilitating mental illness can bring about when the news of Vikings’ Everson Griffen’s breakdown at a team hotel the night before their game against Buffalo sent shockwaves across the NFL.

The news was devastating, but the outpouring of support that came afterwards was refreshing and serves as a testament to how far we have come as a society in recognizing the magnitude of this issue and how miniscule the game of football is in comparison to life itself – and in Griffen’s case, being the best father and husband that he can possibly be.

Whether Griffen is aware of it or not, his decision to seek help for these issues will go a long way to shed a light on the fact that mental illness does not discriminate, and being “tough” does not mean turning a blind eye to things of this nature, but instead acknowledging that a problem exists and working to fix it for the betterment of loved ones around you.

As a Vikings fan, I can’t help but miss Griffen and his infectious personality that served as a catalyst for the rest of the defense. At the same time, I know that the pursuit that Griffen is currently on dwarfs any football game that can be played, and the impact that all of this has created will serve to help motivate those who were perhaps at one time apprehensive to address their own issues, and as a result, maybe even save a life.

As of today, the timeline for a possible Griffen return remains unclear, but I think I speak for nearly all of Vikings nation when I say that we are all rooting for you, we miss you, and wish you nothing but the best, and to take whatever time that you need to get the help that you need.