I was mentioning earlier, when Ms. Davies asked me a question, that in recent years, stigma around depression and mental illness has seemed to be improving. But what I forgot to mention at the time was that while that is improving, I'd say that stigma related to suicide is kind of the final frontier of stigma.
What our family did was be very open about the fact that it was suicide. We issued a press release when we announced that Dave had died. The press release said that it was by suicide. We didn't try to sort of hide from that or wait for a report or something like that. Plus, the Prime Minister came to Dave's funeral and spoke about depression and suicide in his speech but also about Dave's life, because sometimes when people die by suicide, it becomes only about their deaths. You kind of forget about their lives. I think it's really important to remember their lives too.
When those hockey players' deaths happened this summer, the Rick Rypien one especially hit me hard, personally, because he played junior hockey in Regina, where we live. Dave and I, I know, would have gone to see him play many times when he played there and in Moose Jaw. And to think about this poor kid....
They had some sort of YouTube video or something like that about one of the last interviews he gave right before he went on a kind of leave of absence, or maybe right after he came back from a leave of absence from the NHL. Just watching him you could see that he was struggling to have hope, but he was trying to keep it together. To think that it had such a sad ending was terrible.
I think it is really necessary when people like that, who people can relate to, people like Dave.... I think some people, when Dave passed away, might have wondered if that guy was really the happy-go-lucky, friendly person everyone saw. Or was that a mask he was wearing to kind of hide this troubled, depressed individual? No, that was Dave. He was happy. Just the last year and a half of his life was when all these medical issues made a happy life tumble down so quickly.
Having those kinds of people and linking it.... You know, there's a lot of openness now about depression and mental illness, but not so much about suicide. We can't forget that suicide is the unfortunate consequence of depression and mental illness. All these groups are being very open with Let's Talk and that sort of thing but then are wanting to shy away from suicide. We should not shy away from the fact that it is the possible result if it goes untreated or is improperly treated.