Luke Richardson: Depressed? Talk about it

Senators assistant coach Luke Richardson spoke about youth mental health and the suicide of his...

Senators assistant coach Luke Richardson spoke about youth mental health and the suicide of his daughter Daron during a press conference at Scotiabank Place, Feb. 24,2011. (ERROL McGIHON/QMI Agency)

AEDAN HELMER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:26 AM ET

OTTAWA - Luke Richardson knows the pain left by his daughter Daron’s suicide will never go away.

But with three high-profile NHL tragedies attributed to depression this summer, he also knows the need for suicide prevention awareness has never been greater.

“There’s been a lot of awareness in the last little while and unfortunately it takes some tragic circumstances to do that,” said Richardson, who dropped the puck at the Ottawa 67’s Do It For Daron game Sunday. “Now we just have to make sure we follow through with it, and that goes for our DFID campaign, which is focused on youth, right up to the top fields, whether it be the NHL in hockey, or in the business world, or the medical world, whichever.”

Richardson said mental health and suicide was the one topic he never discussed with his daughter, who took her own life in November 2010.

“We wish we would have,” said Richardson. “We’re very open in our family in our dialogue about everything, whether it be drinking and driving, drugs and alcohol or sex. But they’ve all crept into our society while mental health and suicide is really pushed to the outside. We just want to create awareness to get rid of the stigma and make people comfortable to speak about their feelings and know that they’re not alone. There is help there.”

The deaths of Wade Belak, Derek Boogaard and Rick Rypien have only underscored the need for the conversation to continue, said Richardson.

“In the culture of the sporting world, you don’t want to make yourself vulnerable, or open yourself up to someone to consider you weak. That’s the old-school scenario of the sports world,” said Richardson. “If we can get to the youth to make them understand (depression) is a pretty prominent thing and it’s okay to talk about it and get help, and to talk about their feelings at a younger age, then that just cuts it off before it gets to a point where they feel there’s no way out.”

“It’s not a comfortable or fun situation to be in, but we’re in it, and we’re not getting out of it,” he said. “If we can help one person, it’s worth it.”

To learn more about the campaign or to contribute, visit doitfordaron.com.


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