Former Lions QB educates students about suicide awareness - WNEM TV 5

Former Lions QB educates students about suicide awareness

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Thousands of teenagers take their own lives and it's for that reason a former NFL quarterback visited Mid-Michigan on Wednesday.

Eric Hipple, former quarterback for the Detroit Lions, brought a poignant message to local kids. He is also a father who was touched by the tragedy of suicide.

He visited Grand Blanc High School to educate students about the dangers of depression, something he said he struggled with for years.

"I got to the very top of my sport and yet, if I can fall to this stuff anybody can is how I see it," Hipple said.

He said he suffered from severe depression and even attempted suicide once, but didn't really recognize that mental illness was a serious issue until his son took his own life. Since then, Hipple has been advocating for change.

"After my son's death, the mental health became very real and big to me. Not only from a clinical standpoint, but from an educational point of view. And how we can help ourselves as well," Hipple said.

Hipple also talked about mental fitness and the importance of students recognizing their own choices.

He said by understanding these things, people can take more control of their lives. His message seemed to resonate with many students and teachers, who said it was an honor to have the football star visit.

"It means a lot. We all look up to Eric Hipple and he has made a big impact on all of us with mental health in general and how to address it in our community," said Micheal Barish, student.

Hipple said giving people the tools to handle a crisis is key when fighting depression.

"They are not alone. They do have power over their decisions, regardless of what it is. And it doesn't mean bad things don't happen to us, it does, but what it means is I get to choose what I do next," Hipple said.

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