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#JamesDonaldsononMentalHealth – Foss: We Need to Talk About #Suicide

In many quarters, #suicide remains taboo

I didn’t know that the last time I saw my brother-in-law Tom it would be at a family gathering in March, at my aunt and uncle’s house in Massachusetts.

I expected to see him in May, at my niece’s birthday party, and in July, on a family vacation in New Hampshire, and in August, on a camping trip to Vermont.

Just 41, in the prime of his life, with two children, a good job and a passion for playing the mandolin, I assumed Tom would be a part of my life for decades to come.

Then the telephone call came, informing me that Tom, who married my sister in 2010, had died by #suicide.

How many people have received a telephone call like this?

A lot, judging by the numbers.

In 2017, 47,173 Americans died by #suicide, making it the tenth leading cause of death in the country. The number of #suicides in the U.S. has been rising steadily for years: In 1999, 29,199 people died by #suicide.

These deaths aren’t anything I feel like talking about.

I’m talking about them because of the possibility that it might do some good.

In many quarters, suicide remains taboo – a confusing and painful topic people would rather not discuss.

This reluctance might be understandable, but it’s also damaging, because it perpetuates the #stigma associated with #suicide, and makes it hard for people to ask for help when they need it. As a 2015 Atlantic Monthly article observed, “… the #stigma of #suicide is so strong that it’s often an issue left unspoken, even by doctors.”

Is this changing?

Nicole DeCelle, area director of the Capital Region & South Central New York chapters of the #AmericanFoundationforSuicidePrevention, believes that it is.

“I think we’re at a tipping point in our country now, where we’re starting to talk more openly about #suicide and prevention and #mentalhealth,” DeCelle told me. “But we have such a long way to go.”

She added, “The more that we talk about it and normalize the conversation, the quicker the stigma goes away. … The reality is that we all struggle with our #mentalhealth at different phases in our lives.”

In the weeks since Tom’s death, I’ve been amazed at the number of people who have opened up to me about their own experiences with #depression or a loss of a colleague, friend or loved one to #suicide.

#Suicide might be taboo, but it’s also pervasive – something that’s touched the lives of most everyone.

Getting people to share their stories might go a long way toward reducing the #suicide rate, and lead to a much-needed shift in how we think and talk about #suicide: as a public health problem, rather than a big, dark, horrifying secret.

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 #JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

 

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Of course, there are other tools for preventing #suicide.

Knowing the risk signs and warning factors of #suicide can also help.

While there’s no single cause of #suicide, groups with a mission of #suicideprevention highlight the stressors and health issues that often converge to create feelings of hopelessness and despair. According to the AFSP, “#Depression is the most common condition associated with #suicide, and it is often undiagnosed and untreated.”

Warning signs include changes in behavior such as increased drug or alcohol use, withdrawing from social activities and visiting or calling people to say goodbye. If a person talks about killing themselves, feeling hopeless, having no reason to live and being in unbearable pain, they might be at risk of #suicide.

AFSP offers a number of programs that are designed to teach how to recognize warning signs and respond to them. The More Than Sad program is aimed at students, while Talk Saves Lives focuses on groups of adults, such as community groups and businesses.

“We want the generation coming up to be the first generation that does talk about it,” DeCelle said.

There are resources available to people who are struggling with #suicidalthoughts, but many people will never access them. If we want to reduce the country’s disturbingly high #suicide rate, that has to change.

Since my brother-in-law died, I’ve learned more about his struggles with #depression and some problems he was having at work. This information has helped me make sense of his suicide, although I doubt it’s something I’ll ever fully comprehend. There are still mornings when I wake up and can’t believe it really happened.

What I’ll always regret is that Tom didn’t receive the help he so clearly needed – that he didn’t call a hotline, or dial 911 or express what he was feeling to a friend, colleague or family member.

There are always reasons for hope.

I wish I’d had the opportunity to tell Tom that.

Reach Sara Foss at sfoss@dailygazette.net. Opinions expressed here are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, please know that you are not alone. If you are in danger of acting on #suicidal thoughts, call 911. For support and resources, call the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 1-800-273-8255or text 741-741 for the Crisis Text Line.   

Good Health is Mental Health

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#JamesDonaldsononMentalHealth – LETTER: Talking About #Mentalhealth Can Help Prevent #Suicides

TeenSuicide-173195545_650x450

To the Editor:

 

The #UnitedStates has the highest rate of #suicide, making this an absolute crisis in our country. The thing about #suicide is that it does not discriminate. It affects the popular teenage girl, the poor single mother, the famous Hollywood actor, and the elderly man next door.

The person who ends their life by way of #suicide has typically suffered for a very long time with #mentalhealthissues, substance use issues, grief/loss, and chronic pain. The decision to end their life is one of impulse as a way to immediately end the pain, #hopelessness, and #despair that they have been feeling for years.

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 #JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

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So I ask all of you to do your part to end the #stigma associated with #mentalhealth. Educate yourselves on the warning signs (talking about death, isolating, increased depression/unhappiness, giving away personal belongings), use the word #suicide in discussions, and advocate for #mentalhealthresources in the community.

The more we talk about #mentalhealth the more lives we can save.

Speak Up to Prevent Suicide

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#JamesDonaldsononMentalHealth – #TysonFury Talks #MentalHealth Struggles, Reveals He Was on the Verge of Suicide

TYLER CONWAY
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 13: Tyson Fury of England speaks during a press conference ahead of his heavyweight match against Tom Schwarz at BT Sport Studios on May 13, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

 

#Boxer Tyson Fury opened up regarding his struggles with #mentalhealth Wednesday, saying on The Rich Eisen Show he contemplated #suicide.

“I was on the verge of suicide. That’s when I’d have quit. But I didn’t quit on myself and I didn’t quit on the world. That’s why I’m back here to tell the story. … Life’s hard. Nothing’s ever going to hit you as hard as life will. And anyone who suffers from mental health problems, it is a silent killer. It kills more people every year than most other things.

“… I was no different. You’re thinking heavyweight champion of the world, a guy who’s on top of everything, he must be happy, right? But then I wasn’t. There wasn’t a day that I woke up that I didn’t pray for death. I had everything to be happy for, but every day was gray and dark.”

Fury, 30, said his upbringing made it hard to come to grips with his mental health. He said he was raised in a household where no one talked about their mental well-being, leading to him staying silent until he “exploded.”

“I do think the most important thing for anyone who suffers from #mentalhealth is communication,” Fury said. “Without communication with others, we’re not going to get better.”

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                                                                #JamesDonaldson notes:

 

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

 

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Fury previously said his #depression led to recreational drug use and #alcoholism.

“They say I’ve got a version of bipolar,” Fury told Stayton Bonner of Rolling Stone in 2016. “I’m a manic #depressive. I just hope someone kills me before I kill myself. … I’ve been out drinking, Monday to Friday to Sunday, and taking cocaine. I can’t deal with it and the only thing that helps me is when I get drunk out of my mind.”

Fury told Eisen he reached “rock bottom” while driving 160 miles per hour in his car on his way to brunch one day. He told Eisen he was “100 percent certain” he was going to kill himself that day.

“Just before I hit this bridge, I heard a voice in my mind saying ‘Don’t do this,'” Fury said. “This is not what you’re going to do. Think about your kids: gonna grow up with no father. Everyone’s going to say you’re a weak person. No. And I pulled the car over immediately, and I was shaking. And I called for help immediately.”

Fury then contacted his father and told him about his #depression, and then sought help from doctors and counselors. He said without the help of those around him, he would have taken his own life.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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#JamesDonaldsononMentalHealth – What New Research Shows About Preteen #Girls and #Suicide Risk

New data shows how many young children have attempted suicide

Teenagers, in particular girls, have become more likely to attempt #suicide in recent years

A growing number of children and teenagers across the country are trying to hurt or kill themselves by using over-the-counter or prescription medications, researchers have found.

This trend is reflected in new data published by the New Jersey Poison Control Center.

According to a press release issued this week, 100 cases of preteens attempting #suicide by drug overdose have been reported to the center since January 2018.

Among those cases, 68 were children who were 12 years old. Twenty were 11 years old, seven were 10 years old, and three were 9 years old.

In nearly 80 percent of the reported cases, the preteen was a girl.

“These are only cases that we at the New Jersey Poison Control Center got a call about,” Bruce Ruck, PharmD, RPH, managing director of the center, told Healthline.

Additional cases of attempted suicide by overdose in preteens have likely occurred in the state but gone unreported.

Girls more likely to attempt suicide

 

Attempted suicide by overdose is a growing issue among the youth, not only in New Jersey but also in other parts of the country.

When researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH) studied this issue on a national level, they found the number of children and teens who attempt suicide by self-poisoning is growing. The rate has increased significantly over the past 10 years, particularly with girls.

“From 2010 to 2018, there was a 141 percent increase in suicide attempts by self-poisoning among 10- to 15-year-olds,” John Ackerman, PhD, co-author of the national study and suicide prevention coordinator for the #CenterforSuicidePreventionandResearch at NHC, told Healthline.

“Our data indicate that the rate of increase among young girls was much higher than for boys,” he added.

While boys are more likely to complete #suicide, girls are more likely to attempt it.

This may be explained in part by the different methods used to attempt suicide.

Boys tend to use methods that are more fatal on average, such as shooting or hanging.

Girls tend to use methods that are less fatal on average, such as self-poisoning.

Suicide attempts are serious

According to Ackerman, it’s important to take all cases of attempted suicide seriously, including attempted suicide by self-poisoning.

“There’s a danger in taking intentional self-poisoning lightly or suggesting it is a cry for help when any suicide attempt is a reflection of intense emotional pain and at least some desire to end one’s life,” he said.

“Our data also suggest that the consequences of these attempts are increasing in severity,” Ackerman continued.

As a growing number of girls have attempted suicide by self-poisoning, a growing number have died by suicide.

Recent researchTrusted Source has found that suicide by some other means has also become increasingly common for girls over the past decade.

More youth in total are attempting and dying by suicide, and girls account for a growing share of them.

Henry Spiller, MS, lead author of the national study and director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at NCH, wants people to know that help is available.

“There are a number of studies that show that after a first attempt if you get help, the likelihood of a second-attempted or a completed suicide goes down dramatically,” he said.

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                                                                  #JamesDonaldson notes:

 

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

 

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Reasons remain unclear

 

More research is needed to understand why the rate of attempted suicide is growing in youth — and why the rate is increasing more rapidly with girls.

Some experts believe that changes in how youth connect online might be playing a part.

“We believe there may be a significant association with changes in social media or smartphones,” Spiller said.

“You can look back at this data before 2000 and it’s relatively flat,” he continued, “and then suddenly around 2010 and 2011 when we had the increasing introduction of smartphones and social apps, there’s a significant rise in attempted suicide.”

Social media and other online platforms can enable youth to connect with peers, share their perspectives, and learn about the perspectives of others.

But the internet can also expose youth to cyberbullying, information about how to die by suicide, and other potential risks, some of which might disproportionately affect girls.

“At this challenging stage of life where one is forming her own identity and sense of self-worth, the constant input from others in the forms of clicks, likes, and shares may be problematic,” Ackerman said.

“We also know excessive phone use interferes with sleep, physical activity, and reduces face-to-face contact, all of which are critical to healthy emotional and psychological functioning,” he added.

woman carrying girl while showing smile

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

To help reduce the risk of suicide, it’s important to provide #mentalhealth support to those who show warning signs of suicidal thoughts or behavior.

“Although it can feel like a complex or scary issue for parents, doctors, and other adults, we should not be afraid to talk openly and directly about suicide when we are concerned about a young person showing warning signs,” Ackerman said.

“For parents and teachers, we can’t overstate the importance of checking in emotionally with kids at very young ages and giving them tools to express what they’re struggling with and the confidence to speak with a trusted adult when they are in distress,” he continued.

Ackerman also encourages parents and other caregivers to help youth set healthy boundaries around their social media and technology use.

It’s also important to limit their access to medications or other means of self-harm, such as firearms.

“When it comes to self-poisoning, access to prescription and nonprescription medications is a big deal,” Ackerman explained.

“Many families do not engage in safe storage practices of medications, which can be very problematic,” he added.

Youth who attempt suicide by self-poisoning often use over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs that are accessible at home.

“If over-the-counter medication is what’s available, that’s what’s being taken. If mom’s antidepressant is available, that’s what’s being taken. If dad’s arthritis medicine is available, that’s what they’re taking,” Ruck said.

“They’re taking what they have access to,” he added.

To lower the risk of accidental or intentional overdose in children and teenagers, Ruck and Ackerman recommend locking up medications and safely disposing of pills that are no longer needed.

If you or someone you know may be contemplating suicide, call the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 800-273-8255 or text START to 741741. If someone is experiencing a case of suspected self-poisoning, you can seek guidance from Poison Control at 800-222-1222. In the case of a medical emergency, call 911 or seek care from a local hospital.

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Former #SeattleSuperSonic Says Setbacks Prepared Him for #CityCouncil Race

Former Sonic James Donaldson talked candidly about his financial and personal setbacks and how they prepared him for Seattle City Council race.

 

Click Here to See Video

He still towers over most people, and his broad smile is back. However, former #SeattleSonic #JamesDonaldson wants you to know he’s changed a lot since his playing days.

“Basketball has taken me around the world,” the longtime Seattle resident said. “I want to finish up right here.”

It’s been a heck of a journey for the 61-year-old. He was drafted out of #WashingtonStateUniversity to the #Sonics where he played for a few years before embarking on a 14-year NBA career. He eventually settled for good in #Magnolia, and ran a chain of #physicaltherapy centers.

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 #JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.#http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

 

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But the bottom dropped out in 2015.

“Out of nowhere,” he said, during a conversation on the Seattle waterfront.

He was 57 years old at the time, a vegetarian and jogger, who never smoked, drank or did drugs.

“One day, I’m not feeling so good,” Donaldson recalled. “I remember seeing the reception desk (at Swedish First Hill) as I walked in, and then everything went black.”

Donaldson had emergency heart surgery, an “#aorticdissection” as he calls it. He was in a medically induced coma, and friends thought he wouldn’t make it out. When he did, despite what he calls a good health care plan for #NBA retired players, there was still $200,000 to $300,000 of out of pocket expenses.

“Financially, I went upside down.”

He lost his mother around the same time. His wife and stepson also moved out. His businesses collapsed under the weight of it all.

“All of this put me in a deep, dark scary place for a long time,” Donaldson said.

He admitted he battled #depression, contemplated, and planned a #suicideattempt.

“I really didn’t think I was going to make it Christmas of 2017.”

The suicide of #WSU quarterback #TylerHilinski around the same time impacted him.

“That resonated with me in such a way. One, that’s my #almamater. Two, I was a student-athlete walking the campus. (It) shook me to the core. I’ve gotta get out of this thing,” he said.

Therapy and friends helped him out of the darkness and forge a new path.

He now believes it has given him a perspective few can see.

“Now I understand what #mentalhealth is all about,” said Donaldson, losing the trademark smile. “Any of this can happen to us at any time.”

Donaldson believes it translates to the problems facing the city of #Seattle in general and has prompted him to write another chapter.

“I’ve decided to run for #SeattleCityCouncil. I live right here in #District7,” he said, his face lighting up again. “We now have got some big problems, especially with #homelessness, drug addictions, opioid problems, needles everywhere.

“We need more and more caseworkers, engaging with these people working with tents.”

It’s a key component of his campaign, which was launched just a couple of days before the filing deadline last month. He’s now trying to establish himself in a crowded field of 10 candidates, looking to represent Magnolia, Queen Anne, and Downtown Seattle.

Donaldson said he also wants to seek police reform and disagrees with a recent decision by #SeattlePoliceChiefCarmenBest to reinstate an aggressive police officer. The decision was backed by #SeattleMayorJennyDurkan.

“He should have been terminated,” Donaldson said bluntly.  He believes more officers should get out of their cars, and off their bikes, and “walk the city blocks again” to change public opinion.

Whether his everyman message resonates with voters is another story. But Donaldson is now excited about the future for the first time in years.

“There is finally light now at the end of the tunnel,” Donaldson said.

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#JamesDonaldsononMentalHealth – Why I Created a #MentalHealth App for #AfricanAmericans

VIDEO: Taraji P. Henson's powerful words about mental health

Jasmin Pierre is an author and mental health advocate who became an activist after surviving suicide attempts.

After her own recovery, Pierre focused on spreading awareness about mental health in the black community. She created an app, The Safe Place, to do just that.

May is #MentalHealthAwareness Month. Here, Pierre shares her own experience and how that motivates her to make sure her community can better cope with #depression and #suicide.

Years, before I created #TheSafePlace app, the #stigma surrounding #mentalhealthissues in my community, nearly killed me.

When I was only 20 years old, I sat right across from a psychologist whose skin was pale as snow, in a tiny room, at a mental health facility in my hometown of New Orleans that I was put in by force after a #suicideattempt.

The psychologist looked at me straight in the eyes and diagnosed me with clinical #depression. Now I didn’t protest the fact that he just gave me this new diagnosis out loud, but inside I was screaming, and saying to myself, “What is he even talking about? Black people aren’t supposed to get depressed. We have to be strong.”

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 #JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

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At least that’s what I’ve been hearing my entire life in regards to growing up in the black community. Having a #mentalillness was and still is seen as the ultimate weakness of many black people.

I always grew up hearing that therapy and mental health medication is just for white people.

When I left the facility, I decided I really didn’t need any help for myself, so I went another six years suffering mostly in silence and shame and attempted suicide again right before my 26th birthday.

When I survived yet again, I decided I could no longer keep letting the #stigma in my community allow me to keep living this way, and I decided not only to get help, but I also became vocal about my #mentalhealthissues through advocacy.

I’ve done a lot of work surrounding #mentalhealth over the last four years that includes all races, but I’ve also noticed the #mentalhealthstigma in my own community was still increasingly getting worse.

The #blackcommunity has a great deal of something called “generational trauma.”

Throughout history, horrific tragedies have happened in the black community such as slavery, Jim Crow laws, the Civil Rights movement, beatings, lynchings, police brutality and more. My people were just expected to deal with all of this trauma and tragedy and simply just be strong.

They were so focused on survival and civil rights that they didn’t feel they had time to take care of their mental health, which is why we have the ultimate “be strong and just pray” mentality. My community had way too many other things to worry about, so taking care of their mental health wasn’t even a serious thought.

Today, gun violence, microaggressions toward black people on their jobs and everyday life, racial profiling, racism, and police brutality also play a part in our generational trauma and lack of [focus on] mental health.

Unfortunately, suppressing all of the things that impact our mental health, has finally taken a serious toll in the newer generations of our community.

I created a minority mental health app [The Safe Place] to save lives in my community, the black community, where mental health is extremely taboo, and still not even considered an illness to many black people.

The Safe Place is an app created by mental health activist Jasmin Pierre.

The Safe Place is an app created by mental health activist Jasmin Pierre

The app is filled with things such as black mental health statistics, self-care tips, information about how mental health has had a stigmatized impact within the black church, information on how police brutality and racism has impacted the mental health of the black community, videos, articles, mental illness descriptions, self-assessment questions and more.

With more funding, I’m hoping to add more features to it within the near future.

I genuinely just want to see a change in my community when it comes to mental health issues, and I plan to continue to work hard to help be the change that I wish to see.

photo of four persons uniting hands

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Anyone in crisis, or who knows someone in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.

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#JamesDonaldsononMentalHealth – #MarkRypien: We Need to be Talking With our #Sons and #Daughters

By JAMEY VINNICK 
#MarkRypien at this spring’s #CougsFirst! QB Classic in #Pullman. (Photo: Cougfan.com/Whittney Thornton)

#PULLMAN — Mark Rypien, the old #Cougar quarterback, and Super Bowl MVP, is as personable as ever and relaxed as he chats between holes at the first-ever CougsFirst! QB Classic on a sunny spring day at Palouse Ridge Golf Club. He hits monster drives and signs autographs with easy aplomb. But when the topic turns to #mentalhealth his voice moves from casual to urgent.

“Unless we talk about it and change the #stigma of #mentalhealth and help those who need help, it’s going to be the same,” Rypien says.

Fourteen months ago, not long after #TylerHilinski’s death by #suicide and in the wake of several publicized #mentalhealth woes among celebrities, Rypien decided he needed to make his own struggles with suicidal thoughts and emotional control issues public in a series of interviews with The Spokesman-Review and others.

“I was (battling), and I’ve seen a lot of people go through #depression and a lot of people go through things that they need help with,” Rypien told Cougfan.com at the QB Classic.

He pointed to the alarming statistics among military veterans to illustrate the scope of the nation’s mental health problems: an average of 22 suicides each day.

“It’s tragic, that’s over 8,000 a year. One is too many but if we can save one by opening up a dialogue, just by sitting down and being able to talk about it.

“We need to start sitting down and talking about #mentalhealth, we need to ask our sons and daughters questions and be open about things. If someone is struggling, we need to do the best we can to make sure we’re doing our job.”

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 #JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

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Rypien’s cousin Rick, a promising young player in the National Hockey League, died of suicide in 2011.

“When you talk about Rick, he had everything in front of him,” said Mark. “He was an up-and-coming guy, signed with the Winnipeg Jets. Craig Heisinger was the GM that got him to come to Winnipeg to a team that we’ve seen in these last four or five years has been on the rise and Rick could’ve easily been part of that and really should’ve been, outside of the fact that there were demons taking control of his emotions.”

Mark says his own troubles began about a decade ago when, as the S-R’s John Blanchette wrote last year, his impulsive behaviors began to escalate; aggressiveness and verbal outbursts increased; and so did regret and self-hatred.

Rypien takes a hit en route to Super Bowl MVP honors vs. Buffalo in 1992. (Photo: USPresswire/Rubio)

“My story is impactful because people see me in a different light. I want them to see me in an accurate light. I’ve been down the darkest path. I’ve made some horrible, horrible mistakes. But I’ve given myself a chance to progress forward (through counselors, doctors, medication and family support),” Rypien told Blanchette.

Could Rypien’s struggles be CTE related?

In an interview with KHQ-TV in Spokane last year he said, “I suffer from a complex stew of #mentalhealth conditions. Dark places, #depression, #anxiety, addictions, poor choices, poor decisions brought about from dozens of concussions and thousands of subconcussive injuries from playing that sport.”

Rypien played 11 seasons in the NFL, five as the starter in Washington, following an All-Pac-10 career at WSU.