• Go Beavers!!!

Former Coach Shares Powerful Message on Depression and Anxiety at PCC

25 January 2021

Mark Potter coached more than 800 games during his 30 year career as a head men’s basketball coach. He now spends time traveling to area schools talking to students, but he doesn’t talk about plays and strategies that win games.

Not directly, anyway.

He's passionate about another topic, just below the surface, that has just as much to do with winning games and supporting the team: mental health.

Potter described himself as the face of severe depression and anxiety, even at the height of his coaching career.

Mental illness is not an easy topic to open up about, especially when mental toughness is an expectation on the job and your team needs you.

Potter gets vulnerable to raise awareness and give others the tools they need to recognize signs and symptoms, and perhaps more importantly, see the strength in getting help.

Potter’s wife Nanette speaks about mental illness from the standpoint of a caregiver and the family struggling to help their loved one.

The night’s message was powerful, and needed.

The Potter family stayed until 10pm, speaking to individual athletes that stuck around afterwards, wanting to speak to them.

Student athlete Britney Bayer, of the Pratt Community College Women's Soccer Team, was especially moved in a Facebook post soon after visiting with the Potter's.

“Mental illness is something near and dear to my heart, and tonight’s presentation hit hard. It is no joke, now more than ever with this peculiar year we have all been affected by. I love each and every one of you that I have on Facebook, and you are never alone! Tonight taught me how to deal with my own problems, and how to help others deal with issues that they may be unable to deal with themselves.”

PCC Women’s Soccer coach Ashley Burnett also chimed in.

“So powerful, and a topic that needs to be spoken about! Let’s stop the stigma of mental health. His story and his message is what our athletes need to hear!”

PCC Women’s Basketball coach Steven Kenner  gathered his team together for a picture with Mr. Potter.

“Thank you to Mark Potter and his wife, Nanette, for talking to our team and the entire Pratt Beavers family about mental health struggles and sharing your story! You are making a difference in the lives of student-athletes across the country!”

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Potter was originally scheduled to speak to a wider audience at PCC in Fall 2020, but COVID-19 restrictions made it necessary to postpone until January 2021 and limit audience size.

He may return at a later date. Reach Mark Potter at his website: D2up.org