Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Remembering Jojo Garcia

Credit: Carlos Gonzales, Minneapolis Star Tribune
We learned yesterday that former 2016 Gophers football commit Jojo Garcia took his own life on Monday. Jojo was a favorite recruit of many of us fans, as we paired him up with fellow in-state commit Carter Coughlin to form 'CC and Jojo,' a play off the late-90s R&B duet, 'K-Ci and JoJo.' He was a highly-rated defensive tackle, who attended Cretin Durham Hall, East Ridge and Simley. He never wore the Maroon and Gold, as he decommitted shortly after Jerry Kill retired as Minnesota's head coach, later deciding to play for Iowa Western University in Council Bluffs. He was 19.

That he never played for the Gophers does not lessen my sorrow at his death. I didn't know him beyond following his recruitment on the Gopher boards. I was excited to have him on the team, but had no insight into his life off of the football field. Regardless of the connection, though, losing someone to suicide, particularly at such a young age, is a tragedy. It's worthy of a short post highlighting the risks, particularly for young men.

Suicide rates in the U.S. between the ages of 15 to 24 are 11.6 per 100,000, second only to those over the age of 65, which are at 16.6 per 100,000. The risk of suicide is higher for male youth than females. The reasons behind the gender disparity are myriad; but there is a stigma associated with male depression - one of weakness and an inability to control one's own life - that promotes feelings of hopelessness in way that is particularly damaging to the male psyche. 

I say all this to let readers in a state of depression or readers who are friends or family members of someone with depression to know that they are not alone in their situation. That there are resources available from traditional counseling, to medication, to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255 - available 24/7). That regardless of how you feel, you are a good person, worthy of love and there is a positive way out of your situation.

I'm available @StillGotHope1 if any of you want to chat at (mostly) any time. We may not know each other IRL, but I am here to help if you need it. That's how I'm choosing to remember Jojo today.

1 comment:

  1. Such a sad thing for this to happen. But kudos to you for having a desire to help. As someone who has suffered from manic depression for years, along with other stuff, it is comforting to see people understand this illness and not simply judge and stigmatize.