Cowboys' Prescott got help for anxiety, depression during offseason

FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott sought help in the offseason for anxiety and depression brought on by the death of his older brother, Jace, and the coronavirus pandemic.

"When you have thoughts that you've never had, I think that's more so than anything a chance to realize it and recognize it, to be vulnerable about it," Prescott said. "Talked to my family, talked to the people around me simply as I did at the time. Some of them obviously had dealt with it before, was able to have those conversations and then reach out further just to more people.

"I think being open about it and not holding those feelings in was one of the better things for me."

In an episode of "In Depth with Graham Bensinger" that will air this weekend, Prescott discussed the death of his brother, who killed himself in April.

"I mean, obviously tears and tears and tears," Dak Prescott said on the show. "I mean, I sat there and tried to gather what had happened and wanted to ask why for so many reasons. ... And as much as you want to ask why as much as this, I mean, I know my brother, and as we said, he had a lot of burdens on him."

One of those burdens was being the main caregiver to their mother, Peggy, who died from colon cancer in 2013. Prescott said that impacted Jace "immensely."

"He saw the times where she would have to spend probably 10-plus hours throwing up this and that and saw the medicine she had to take," Prescott told Bensinger. "And, um, almost you can't even put into words the burden. I mean, it's something only Jace knew. And he didn't necessarily share that."

On Thursday, Prescott said he expressed his feelings to close friends and current and former teammates. He also spoke with Chad Bohling, a sports psychologist with the New York Yankees who had been around the Cowboys when Jason Garrett was coach.

"I'm a people person. I'm somebody that likes to be around people. I like to inspire. I like to put a smile on people's faces, day in and day out, and I like to lead," Prescott said. "When that's taken away from you simply because you're forced to quarantine and not be around people and get around people as much as you would like to, yeah, it's tough.

"As I explained, it creates new emotions. Emotions that I've never felt before but obviously dealt with. And I obviously got the help that I needed and was very open about it. I think that's why I was fortunate to get over it, as not all are. As I've said before, I don't want to sit here and dwell on the things that were a struggle for me when I know I'm very fortunate and blessed and other people have it much more worse. But just to be transparent about it, that even in my situation, emotions and those type of things, can overcome you if you don't do something about it."

By being upfront about the issues he dealt with, Prescott hopes he can help others.

"Mental health is a huge issue and a real thing in our world right now, especially the world we live in where everything is viral and everyone is part of the media," Prescott said. "[You] can get on social media and be overcome with emotions and thoughts of other people and allow that to fill in their head when things aren't necessarily true -- whether it's getting likes on Instagram or something being viewed or getting bullied or whatever it may be.

"All those things create emotions and put things in your head about yourself or your situation in life that aren't true. I think it's huge. I think it's huge to talk. I think it's huge to get help. And it saves lives."