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Dear Fellow Former Players & Friends,

There are very few things I enjoy more than spending time with my family in public spaces, enjoying the “here and now.”  I get caught up in the moment.  I take notice of the couple sitting a few tables down in a new and exciting relationship.  The family across the street laughing over ice cream.  The energy coming from young business men and women capping off a long week at the office.  That’s why I find myself surprised that I’ve been looking ahead to May.

I want to get serious for a moment.  May is National Mental Health Month and it’s just around the corner. In a time when there is so much confusion about holding down a job, investing in this economy, managing a relationship and rearing a child, it’s easy to feel like things are unraveling quickly.  Ask yourself this question: When I look at life as a tall glass of water, what do I see?

Does it look half full? Half empty?  Are you optimistic about the future?  Are you curious about how life will unfold? Are things way off course from your vision?

These are all questions that, if unchecked, can ignite into a firestorm of uneasy emotions. The joy of life doesn’t have to be sacrificed in the midst of tough times. As a matter of fact, it shouldn’t be sacrificed at all.  Working through hard times with a clear focus and deliberateness can be unquestionably joyful.

If you’re finding it tougher than normal and you are not getting any relief from you emotions and thoughts, it may be time to ask for help. And get this, asking for help is OK. Real men ask for help.

Life’s uncontrollable situations are fundamentally linked to a person feeling depressed. And don’t kid yourself, depression is very real. The good news? Mental health issues, including depression, are very treatable.

Throughout the coming months, YourPAF will feature articles to educate former players and loved ones about mental health and the available resources. Our relationships with the University of Michigan Depression Center, the National Network of Depression Centers and other care services provide the Professional Athletes Foundation with sound direction to assist former players impacted by depression and mental health issues.

Log on to the University of Michigan Depression Center website at and look for the self-assessments. Together, we can work through anything.

The first step, ask for help.

Andre Collins



Executive Director
Professional Athletes Foundation
NFL Player 1990-1999

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