USC quarterback Caleb Williams released a public service announcement on Tuesday focused on addressing mental health.
Williams and a team of USC communications students created and filmed a national PSA focused on spreading mental health awareness.
“I was trying to reach out and help in some way and find a better way to attack what wasn’t attacked,” Williams told ESPN.
The PSA is called Seize the Awkward, and Williams’ participation demonstrates how to deal with mental health issues throughout your career. The commercial will be aired nationwide.
This represents an evolution of Williams’ advocacy as his platform has grown. Last year, Williams painted suicide prevention numbers on his nails to spread awareness, he said. This is the next step, starring in his 2:40 commercial, reflecting on his thoughts on his own mental health.
“I want to be a voice, I want to be a brother to someone who is dealing with (mental health) challenges,” Williams said. “I’m no different. We’ve all gone through some struggles. “Depending on who you are, you take things differently. I try to be there for everyone as much as possible.”
Williams hopes the message will reach a wider audience.
“I understand the idea that football players have to be tough,” Williams said. “I’m still human. My right guard and left tackle are still human. They’re the worst guys on the football field. We’re all human.”
The entire project is a collaboration between the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the Jed Foundation (which focuses on youth mental health and suicide prevention), Ad Council, and Williams’ charity, Caleb Cares.
Williams said she recently transferred to USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism and said it was “wonderful” to help students and colleagues create something “close and dear to my heart.”
“This has been a project to connect the dots for us. The Ad Council is one of our most important industry partners, Caleb is a superstar student-athlete, mental health is our school community. is our number one priority,” said Willow Bay. Dean of the Annenberg School. “USC Annenberg students working with Caleb to raise awareness about mental health is the perfect kickoff.”
Williams is the first quarterback at USC after moving from Oklahoma this offseason. He started the season with 249 passing yards and two touchdowns on Rice blowouts.