An interview with (former) Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro done by a local television station, had the quote that DiPetro “felt like killing himself” because of a variety of factors including injuries, treatment by fans and the losing in Long Island. It later came out that he was using the term in jest and it was a joke.
You can read more about the story at Sportsnet.ca.
After two weeks of raising awareness through the #BellLetsTalk campaign and then the Hockey Talks campaign to raise awareness for mental health initiatives, as well as the all to recent deaths of a trio of player and former players to suicide or complications with anti-depressants, you would think that something like suicide would no longer be a laughing matter.
DiPietro should no better, but the onus should also be on the reporter doing the story to clarify the statement and dig a little deeper when a comment like that is make. A simple question could have solved the whole thing, to confirm that DiPietro was indeed having suicidal thoughts or if it was indeed “just a saying”, as it came to be. The fact that he didn’t ask that question, and went public with the story as an admission that he had contemplated taking his own life is irresponsible and makes everyone look bad.
If DiPietro was indeed having those feelings, he should have felt safe in discussing the matter with someone, anyone, and then getting him the help he needed. If, as the people quoted in Sportsnet article is correct, then he should be ashamed of himself. And so should the reporter who didn’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.
Now that this “mixup” has become public, with a very public figure admittedly joking about a mental health issue, has put the whole campaign to remove the stigma surrounding Mental Health back a step. If you have followed this blog for some time, you are aware that I have supported the D.I.F.D. (Do It For Daron) program at The Royal, and it is an issue that has affected people in my life.
If you need help, there is always someone you can talk to. Contrary to what Rick DiPetro might think, it is not a joking matter.