“Many years ago, we didn’t say much about it (mental health) at all,” North Carolina coach Mack Brown said.

Now, it’s a frequent topic. Recently, Brown brought in a counselor to help the Tar Heels prepare for the potential emotional election. Two years ago when the son of a friend took his own life, Brown gave an impassioned speech to his players about the need to come forward if they are hurting. In the locker room, linebacker Jake Lawler was listening.

“After that meeting, Jake Lawler came in and said, ‘Coach, you saved my life,’” Brown said. “He said, ‘I was the guy sitting there thinking of doing something bad and you woke me up.’ It just reinforces the fact that you never know.”

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