Lake Oswego High champions mental health awareness with ‘LO Kick Back’

LAKE OSWEGO Ore. (KPTV) – Brotherhood and belonging, Jordan Taff had both.

“You might think you know what’s going on, but you really don’t,” said Jordan’s mother, Anna Taff.

Anna and Rich Taff are in their seventh month of mourning the loss of their youngest son.

“Living life and moving on because that’s what Jordan would have wanted us to do and heal and honor his memory because he was special,” Anna said.

Jordan was a 2021 Lake Oswego High Class graduate who could light up any locker room with his positive vibes.

“It was just the perfect storm, I think about what happened,” Rich Taff said.

Jordan transferred his freshman year from Wells to Lake Oswego. The new kid suited up for the Lakers in the 2019 football title game – when baseball season came, so did COVID-19.

“In the back of your mind, you always wonder, what more could I have done? Could I have said that? Could I have had this conversation? said Lake Oswego High head baseball coach Jake Anders.

Isolation. Separation. Anxiety. Depression.

“He basically started getting depressed in the lockdown environment, and he developed something called malignant catatonia which basically your body starts to shut down, you don’t talk, you don’t talk, it was very difficult “, said Rich.

No sports. No school. No connection. Jordan turned to “dabbing.”

“We just see the effects of all of this, between school and having ‘normal’ kids so to speak and all the different things that happen with them and if you take that on top of consuming don’t any kind of stuff, then it’s gonna perpetuate it even more,” Anders said.

Hospitalized at Randall’s and sent to Utah for electroconvulsive therapy, it was a two-year odyssey for the Taff family that also took Jordan to the Unity Health Center for Behavioral Health in Portland.

“The people who work at Unity are walking angels,” Rich said. “They are literally angels walking this earth.”

Unity is a 24-hour service that provides inpatient psychiatric care and a pathway to stabilization and recovery for people experiencing a mental health crisis,

“Mental health resources in the state of Oregon are in a terrible state, we need more hospitals, we need more resources given to people like Jordan. Anyone with a mental health issue just isn’t there,” Rich said.

Jordan earned a scholarship to become a dual-sport athlete at Pacific Lutheran University. After four football games, Taff hanged himself in his Tacoma dorm on October 12 at the age of 18.

On Friday, Jordan’s alma affair gathered for the “LO Kick Back” — a student-vs.-teacher kickball game hosted by Laker Baseball’s class of entrepreneurs, head coach and teacher, Jake Anders.

“They said they really wanted to focus on adolescent mental health and they really wanted to focus on getting some level of excitement and activity back to school because they don’t hadn’t had dances, they hadn’t had assemblies,” Anders said.

By promoting the community and improving ours, all funds raised through the return have gone directly to what Unity needs.

“Things that they need for everyday, things that kids do like video games or lifting weights and they don’t have a lot of those things, so that’s kind of why we let’s collect our money,” Anders said.

About Stephen Ewing

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