Given that a friend reminded me that Suicide Prevention Week was last week, I'm re-running a past blog on wrestling and suicide with resources for readers to use. It may have been written recently, but it's even more important given the mental health strains, added addiction and addiction relapses put on wrestling talent and on all of us with COVID.
Wrestling and mental health issues have again become all too real in recent months.
Martin Eric Eason II (Eric Chapel) died suddenly in April 29, 2019, at his home at age 33.
Hardcore wrestling star Danny Havoc died suddenly on May 31, two months after his wife's passing from heart failure only weeks before.
Tom 'Z Barr' Hirshman died suddenly on July 21 at age 38.
Japanese joshi star Hana Kimura died suddenly at age 23 on May 22 after cyberbullying.
In fact, those wrestlers and more "died suddenly" after committing suicide. All too often we use euphemisms like "died suddenly" to disguise when someone commits suicide, because of the continued stigma attached to it.
Wrestlers of late have been even more subject to the stresses and depression that can lead some to make that choice: physical injuries.... drug and alcohol abuse....relationship problems... money issues from the lack of shows being run now in the era of COVID 19...fear of getting COVID themselves and more.
A well known independent wrestler who I won't name said to me last week: "I know many of us are not in a good way for many reasons."
CZW's Maven Bentley added the following: "The world is a crazy place. People are scared. And in a world of tough guys and gals, not enough people are willing to ask for help or show what they perceive as weakness. Admitting you need help is a sign of strength. I know I have needed it recently and I am thankful to those who offered listening ears and words of encouragement."
Here are important statistics on mental health:
1 in 5 adults in the U.S.43.8 million, or 18.5% experiences mental illness in a given year..
1 in 25 adults in the U.S.9.8 million, or 4.0%experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
6.9% of adults in the U.S.16 millionhad at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.
As a society, we treat mental illness in an entirely different manner than we treat physical illness. If someone has a broken arm, they get it X-rayed and a cast put on it. If someone has a hernia, as I have had, they get surgery. If someone has cancer, they are treated with some combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation to try to save their life. If someone has an allergy, they take medication, or avoid the item they are allergic to as much as possible (or in some cases, avoid it completely). But no one thinks twice about it.
But if someone is dealing with depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, they are told to "snap out of it", to "grow a spine", to "deal with it". No one would think of saying those words to a child with leukemia...but they would, and do, to those dealing with mental illness.
For those who are family members or friends of those who are dealing with such illnesses....don't do those things. LISTEN to those in your life suffering. Try to understand the nature of what they are dealing with (and what as family members, what you do as well). Try to help them get help and do not give up on them.
Those mentioned above...and too many more... didn't get the help they needed. If any of you feel alone, or in need of someone to talk to, please do so. If you are reading this blog, and dealing with depression, bi-polar disorder, or other mental health issues, please understand YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
As the numbers above show, you are FAR from alone. Please talk to someone and use the resources here, or find someone you trust to help you. You ARE worth helping. If you are their family member or friend, call to get help with what you can do to help them.
* Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) - (800) 826 -3632
* National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)- 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)