LANSDALE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- At 6-foot 4-inches tall and 300 pounds, Adrian Sullivan, of Lansdale, Montgomery County, naturally gravitated towards a life on the football field. He was a starting offensive lineman at Temple University.
"I got to see so many things. I got to compete, and I bleed cherry and white, so representing the school meant so much to me. Just being in the community and being in Philly was a dream come true," he said.
After some difficult personal experiences, Sullivan realized that there wasn't enough conversation around mental health, especially for men in the African American community.
"Realizing that I really wanted guidance when I was younger and I didn't have anyone to talk to me about mental health," he said. "I think it's just been stigmatized. There's definitely been a lot of natural barriers and things that have and been happening in our country's history that's made it hard for Black men and women to want to show anything other than strength."
To start, he teamed up with Sharif Finch, a linebacker for the Jets, and began to implement mental health workshops for employees at his media agency, RockStaws Incorporated. That idea has extended into the community, by volunteering for several mental health organizations, and mentorship programs for children in the Philadelphia area.
"If sometimes people see that person who seems big and strong can have those emotions, and be vulnerable, it gives them that confidence to be vulnerable in their own life," he said.
He said he's planning a football camp for this summer because reaching out to the youth, building relationships with the community and having tough conversations is what will change the future.
"I would just leave people with, you know, do your best to take care of each other, and random acts of kindness can go over a really long way. So let's try to take care of your mental health and take care of each other and just be great people," he said.
Former Temple University football player giving back for mental health
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