Belak’s death pushes NHL to investigate off-ice tragedies – The Globe and Mail

This is a very thoughtful article on many of the larger issues surrounding Belak’s suicide. Based on my own experience with major depression, I would add what I think are important issues.

First, it would not surpise me if Belak had started taking an anti-depressent. The period when a person is coming out of a depression, either naturally or because of medication, is the time that has the most risk for suicide. Depression is a disease of inactivity and obsession: you think the same thoughts over and over – often it is a plan for suicide. However, you also can’t act – just like you can’t make yourself food, wash your clothes, exercise or do anything else, you probably can’t act on your suicide plan. When you are starting to come out of your depression you suddenly can do things, but because the suicide plan has been so much in your thoughts, the combination of plan and activity can be deadly.

If you are close to someone who has started treating their depression, be vigilant – it’s a dangerous time. Unfortunately, people with a mental illness may not disclose that they have started seeking help.

It is also true that suicide can be “infectious”. Be extra vigilant if that is the case.

By all means, find out more about mental illness – the Canadian Mental Health Association is a good place to start.

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