The suicide education worker was talking to the players among other things, about depression and whether they had been affected by suicide.

It was obvious which players had been affected – they were silent.

They weren’t going to open up in front of strangers that day, but hopefully they saw a door they could choose to walk through if they needed help.

Former Northland rugby player Kurt Davies has walked through that door, and now he’s helping other people open it.

And Sir John Kirwan, who is heading to Northland to talk about his experiences with depression, probably helped Kurt by opening up about the D word.

Sadly, it still carries a stigma.

We often discuss whether we should talk more about suicide .

Although, perhaps talking more about suicide is like focusing on lung cancer, and ignoring the cigarettes that cause it.

Forget suicide, we should be talking about depression.

About normalising it – not stigmatising it.

About it being an illness, not a weakness.

There is still a long way to go, but good on people like Kurt Davies who are brave enough to share their experiences, and help others.

And if you get a minute, take some time to research the other towns that Sir John is visiting.

He’s not going to the big cities. The towns on his tour all have something in common – high youth and rural suicide rates. Hopefully, more people begin to listen to people like Kurt and Sir John.

Source: Bay of Plenty Times

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