Former Lions QB now mental health advocate, shares his story

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It's a tough topic but not for a former Lions quarterback. He's sharing his story how suicide impacted him, his family, and now he wants to make a difference.

Eric Hipple is a former Detroit Lions quarterback and now a mental health advocate.  Hipple had a lot of success on the football field but that was in the 1980s.

Fast-forward to the late 1990s, and life really took a turn.

"It did, a lot of it was transitional as far as going from this identity of who are you into this other life and I had a downfall," Hipple said. "I ended up jumping out of a car, just at the height of a depression.

"After that I never the sought help, I buried it because of stigma, my wife, I never sought help and never learned anything. And that's a problem.

"I never learned anything about what happened."

Two years later he was dealing with a huge tragedy when his son was lost to suicide.

"I didn't have the right information, I never sought treatment myself and when my son started going through symptoms, I didn't know what to ask and how to handle it," he said. "So it was a lack of information, and then his suicide is what spawned me to where I am today."

Hipple now talks to military, veterans, students, parents with a message of awareness.

"It's about information. You know, life on the offense," Hipple said, "It's more than we can understand and know about and noticing the transitions, what the symptoms look like. So we're proactive."

There is a chance for people to learn about the resources and more about this Wednesday.

Easter Seals and American Foundation Prevention Suicide have teamed up for a mental health fair May 18 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Beaumont's Royal Oak campus.