Former Iowa State Basketball Star Visits Pella to Speak About Mental Health

PELLA, Iowa  --  Former Iowa State Cyclone basketball star Marcus Fizer was back in Iowa on Sunday.

He spoke at a youth event in Pella, focusing on topics like depression, mental health, and suicide.

“I was able to get through the things I was faced with growing up as a kid in Detroit, and I’m here," Fizer said. "I’ll be 40 this year. I have a 14-year-old son, nine-year-old daughter, and a two-year-old daughter that I’ll ultimately have to continue to give those things that I’ve went through and try to let them know, 'you’re not the only on facing these kinds of different things.'"

Fizer said even though these issues are difficult to talk about, it's important to let the impressionable younger generation know they're not alone.

“A couple months ago a close friend of mine chose to take her life, and it’s something that I’ve continuously been struggling with to this day, right now. And so whatever it is that they’re going through, if you just speak with someone and just let them know what you’re going through. There’s gotta be something that’s better than that alternative,” Fizer said.

He said young kids are very impressionable and peer pressure is tough.

“We want kids to know that we, as adults, are here for them. That they’re not alone."

A youth leader at Grace Fellowship Church said he hopes this event is a gateway for his peers to open up.

“I know that people in friend groups find it difficult to bring things up like this, but with an event like this I think it will trigger something for a lot of people and allow people to be open about it and know that it’s okay, a lot of people go through this,” Youth Leader Colby De Vries said.

The name of the event was Never Alone.

“It’s not just you in this world. It’s not something you should just bottle up. It’s something that needs to be talked about, and it’s a lot easier to deal with when you let other people know about it, and it’s good to know that you are truly never alone,” De Vries said.

If you are feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 855-581-8111 or visit the Your Life Iowa website.