A powerful ripple effect

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Last week, Rick Springfield received the 2018 Beatrice Stern Media Award from Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services for raising awareness about depression and mental health issues. The Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards ceremony was held April 26 at the Beverly Hills Hilton and his best buddy (and funny guy) Doug Davidson introduced him.

RS gave a very touching acceptance speech (I keep checking YouTube to see if it’s posted there yet so I can share it, but so far I’ve only seen it on the Facebook fan pages where fans were kind to share the video).

Basically he said that he wrote about his depression in his autobiography not because of any altruistic aspirations, but because it’s such a big part of who he is. He said it was news to him that it was news to people that successful people could be depressed.

He started his talk with his dark humor: “When I was 16, if I knew that I was getting an award for being depressed, it might have made me think before I tried to hang myself.”

He spoke about his struggle with depression in 1985, after achieving great success and fame, and how he realized that those couldn’t heal what was going on inside him. As his longtime fans know, he took time off from his career to go into therapy to deal with his demons, although they never went away. He mentioned his dark episode last year where he contemplated suicide and how channeling his depression into creative pursuits helped him get through it (as well as meditation and the support of his family).

He said that so many people suffer from depression and he was there to help any kids who may be struggling with it. And he concluded by saying that if his mom was still here, he’d give the award to her.

I’m guessing there were many teary eyes in the room (and watching the video on the Facebook fan page.) His honesty, humor, humbleness and compassion really shone through. It always amazes me that somebody who has experienced so much darkness in his life has brought so much light to other’s lives.

One reason his story is so inspirational is because it proves that you never know how things will turn out. Just because one chapter of your life seems hopeless doesn’t mean things won’t improve a few pages later. When you learn about all the ups and downs of RS’s life and career, there are so many different ways things might have gone. And that’s true for all of us.

One never knows the impact their life has on others. For example, what if he decided to not return to his musical career in the late 1990s? Then there would be nine less Rick Springfield albums in the world and the impact that those songs have had on people never would have existed.

By talking about his depression, he helps others who are struggling with similar challenges. This has a huge impact on their lives and the lives of the people in their lives. It’s a giant ripple effect, and we all play a part in these powerful ripples.

Here’s an interview from last week, in advance of the award presentation.

For information about suicide prevention, visit the Didi Hirsch website.

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