When you think of a team of student athletes, the phrase "game face" comes to mind. When they face their opponents, they don’t blink. They are there to win.
Now, imagine being a part of that "suck-it-up" culture as the young athletes struggle with mental illness, with depression.
Will Heininger knows how it felt like. As he played for the University of Michigan as a lineman, he was battling with severe depression.
Heininger says it was incredibly difficult dealing with the hopeless feelings, but he didn’t know what depression was at the time, because it wasn’t talked about when he was growing up.
“At first, I really tried to do the athlete thing: 'I'm tougher than this I'm gonna beat it, and just grind it out' ...and, of course, that made it way, way worse," says Heininger.