Suicide Prevention

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I felt compelled to write about the suicide death of Wade Belak, a retired NHL player, for several reasons and it isn’t because I’m a huge hockey fan. In fact, what struck me as most tragic about his death was:
  • He suffered from depression for a number of years. September is National Suicide Prevention Month and Mr. Belak’s suicide underscores the fact that we have a long way to go to make progress on this serious issue.
  • Mr. Belak’s suicide again raises the issue of how brain injuries can lead to long-term mental health issues. His role as a hockey player was the “tough guy” and, therefore, he took a lot of hits over the years. Given the fact that Mr. Belak is the third NHL hockey player to die within the past few months (Derek Boogaard died of an oxycodone overdose and Rick Rypien died in what’s believed to be a suicide), the NHL will have to make this issue a top priority. The status quo is not acceptable!
  • Mr. Belak leaves behind 2 young children and a wife. Death is always hardest on the surviving family members.
  • Mr. Belak’s young daughter suffers from Tourette Syndrome and Mr. Belak was actively involved in trying to raise much needed funds and awareness for this cause. As a parent of two sons with Tourettes, I know how difficult it will be for Mr. Belak’s widow to raise their children as a single parent.
What can we do as a community to help address these serious issues:
  • If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please ask for help. Seek medical attention immediately. Call the suicide prevention lifeline at (800) 273-TALK.
  • If you would like information about Tourette Syndrome, I would highly recommend checking out the following resource: Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada,
  • The best method of prevention for head injuries is the use of safety helmets. For more information, please check out
  • Encourage the NHL to clamp down on violence within the sport of hockey.

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  • Thank you so much for visiting my blog site & sharing your story.
    Best regards,

    Karyn Climans on
  • Thanks for sharing these links. It’s sad when someone gives up on life, but as you mentioned depression is a real concern that is often overlooked. About 10 years ago I suffered with depression and I know first hand what a dreaded disease it is.
    I totally agree with you, that NHL must change their policies and reduce the violence within the sport. How many more lives are needed before change will happen?

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  • Well put Kathryn! As you said so beautifully, depression is not a weakness!

    Karyn Climans on
  • You have been an incredible advocate for more community supports for people suffering from depression & suicidal thoughts. The thanks should go to you!

    Karyn Climans on
  • Depression is sometimes hard to diagnose and difficult to treat even with today’s medications. It’s a real problem especially for men who believe it’s “a weakness” to their manhood in some way. Depression is real and can’t just be shaken off or treated by well meaning friends and family who to tell your loved one, “pull up your socks and get moving” or “suck it up.” Doesn’t work that way. We need to remove the stigma from depression AND remove the casual acceptance of violence in hockey. It’s almost become an EXTREME SPORT!
    Thanks Karyn for your fantastic post!

    Kathryn on

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