Two athlete suicides highlight need for depression education

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hidekiTwo well-known and accomplished athletes, Hideki Irabu and Jeret "Speedy" Peterson made headline news this past week, when both men tragically took their own lives.  The circumstances surrounding both of their deaths have highlighted the struggles of people with depression, and show that nobody, not even world-class athletes, are immune to depressive disorders.

Hideki Irabu immigrated to the United States from Japan to play baseball. He ended up on the Yankee’s roster, and was hailed as a baseball sensation. Irabu was not playing baseball in recent times, but had several run-ins with the law involving alcohol use. Irabu was charged with a DUI in May of 2010. He completed suicide this week after his wife left him.

Jeret Peterson, an Olympic silver medalist in freestyle skiing, also completed suicide earlier this week. Jeret publicly battled depression and alcoholism since his teen years and was once quoted as saying to Men’s Journal that “things have been going wrong for me since the day I was born.” Like Irabu, Peterson was charged with a DUI in the days before his death.

We hope that these men will be remembered for their impressive athletic accomplishments, but that their early passing will remind people that depression doesn’t discriminate; it can effect young people, old people, world class athletes, celebrities, and everyone in between. If you suspect someone you care about is suffering from depression, learn the signs and learn about how you can get them help by visiting our Depression page.

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