USC quarterback Caleb Williams unveiled a mental health-focused public service announcement on Tuesday.
Williams and a team of other USC communications students produced and filmed a national public service announcement focused on mental health awareness.
“I was trying to find a better way to reach out and help out in any way and attack something that’s not being attacked as aggressively as it should be,” Williams told ESPN.
The PSA is called Sixteen the Awkward, and Williams’ participation is indicative of how he plans to deal with mental health issues throughout his career. Advertising should be broadcast nationally.
This represents an evolution in Williams’ advocacy as her platform grows. Last year, Williams said he painted his fingernails with the suicide prevention number to raise awareness. This is the next step, which includes him in a 2 minute and 40 second commercial while reflecting on his own feelings about mental health.
“I want to be a voice, to be a brother to those who have to do with [mental health] challenges,” Williams said. “I am no different. We all go through struggles. Depending on who you are, you take things differently. I try to be there for whoever I can.”
Williams said he hopes the message will reach a wide audience. He acknowledged that mental health issues affect all sections of society.
“We have the idea that football players should be tough or this and that,” Williams said. “I’m still human. My right guard and my left tackle are still human, and they’re the baddest guys on the football pitch. We’re all human.”
The entire project is a collaboration between the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the Jed Foundation (which focuses on emotional health and suicide prevention in young adults), the Ad Council and Caleb Cares, which is Williams’ charity.
Williams said he recently transferred to USC’s Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism, and he said it was “awesome” to help the students and colleagues there produce something “Dear to my heart”.
“This was a connection project for us – the Ad Council is one of our most important industry partners, Caleb is a superstar student-athlete and mental health is a key priority for our school community. “said Willow Bay, dean of the Annenberg School. “Having USC Annenberg students collaborate with Caleb to raise mental health awareness is the perfect kickoff.”
Williams is the starting quarterback for USC after transferring this offseason from Oklahoma. He opened the season with 249 passing yards and two touchdowns in a blowout for Rice.