15:43 PM

Nina and Ryan Day give $1 million to establish mental health resilience fund at Ohio State

Fund will be housed in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health

The Ohio State University head football coach Ryan Day and his wife, Nina, are making a $1 million gift to the university to fund research and services that promote mental health at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine.

The Nina and Ryan Day Resilience Fund will be housed in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health. Their gift is indicative of the Days’ deep commitment to encouraging young adults to seek help for behavioral health challenges.

The Days have long been advocates of care and open discussions about mental health. This cause is personal to Ryan Day, whose father died of suicide when he was 8 years old. Ryan Day began speaking out in 2018 after a recruiting trip to a high school that had experienced multiple recent student suicides led him to confront his long-suppressed pain. Mental health support is a key pillar of the “Circle of Care” Day maintains for athletes in his program, with two full-time psychologists, two athletic counselors and a part-time psychiatrist on staff.

There are few more important messages for young people in 2022, said Ohio State University President Kristina M. Johnson.

“Supporting and building resilience in our fellow Buckeyes always has been a priority for Ohio State, but the past few years have made it more important than ever,” Johnson said. “I am so thankful to Nina and Ryan Day for their leadership and their generous gift. It will help us not only provide greater services and outreach, but to continue the fight against the stigma that too often discourages people in need from seeking help.”

As co-keynote speakers at Ohio State’s pandemic-delayed commencement in August 2021, Nina and Ryan Day both spoke of their own mental health struggles and urged graduates to find friends and loved ones who could bolster them in difficult times.

“Nina and I both understand how important it is to have someone you can turn to for help and strength in times of difficulty,” Ryan Day said. “Our hope is that this fund will allow more Buckeyes to find the support they need to become more resilient.”

Dr. K. Luan Phan, professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, thanked the Days for “helping to dismantle the stigma of mental health challenges,” saying that dispelling stigma is essential to building resilience.

“With the support of champions like Nina and Ryan, we are quickly gaining ground and shifting the paradigm toward a positive outlook against adversity that includes hope, perseverance, courage and growth” he said. “We hope their generous gift will inspire others to support this worthy cause.”

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