Two days ago I wrote about the death of a Tucson hasher. The local hashing community is reluctant to talk about the fact that she killed herself, but a few of her closer friends have said they knew she was wrestling with serious problems. In my previous post, I expressed the wish she’d reached out to her fellow hashers when things got bad. Maybe she did, and it wasn’t enough. What do I know? Nothing, Jon Snow.
Still, I’ve been thinking about her. A lot. Could we have seen this coming? Was there anything we could have done to help our friend? Then, yesterday, I saw this post on Facebook:
This wasn’t from a local hasher. It was from someone in Philadelphia. I messaged the poster and she messaged me back. She knew about the Tucson hasher’s suicide, but she knew of several more: according to her at least a dozen hashers took their own lives over the past year. She and other hashers started a closed Facebook group called Hash Haven as a place where troubled hashers can reach out for help.
Here is Hash Haven’s organizing statement:
Welcome to Hash Haven. We are Hashers helping Hashers. Hash Haven is a support network designed to reach out to hashers living and suffering with depression and mental illness. We do not know what the fuck we are doing and we are here to help.
I don’t know if people who commit suicide are necessarily mentally ill, but surely most of them suffer from depression, so maybe Hash Haven is on the right track. Judging from the numbers of hashers who have joined the the group and posted messages about themselves, a lot of us deal with depression and sometimes need help.
Call me naive, but I’ve always believed we hashers have closer bonds with our hashing friends than we do with friends in other social or professional groups. Some of us share more with our hashing friends than we do with our own families. Hashing has always been special that way, so a support group for hashers struggling with depression seems a good idea to me.
Part of me wants to make light of this by comparing the hash to another well-known support group, Alcoholics Anonymous … the one obvious difference notwithstanding, we’re there for one another, am I right? Part of me, at the same time, knows the subject is deadly serious … a dozen hash suicides a year? Holy shit.
Need help with demons? Here are the details: Hash Haven H3 is a closed group on Facebook. “Closed” means outsiders can visit the page and see general information about the group, but member posts are visible only to other members. Interested hashers can ask to join (probably best to message the organizers first to introduce yourself). Once your membership is approved you can post to the page and read messages from other members.
Sorry for the real world intrusion. The Half-Mind Weblog now returns to its normal light programming.
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About Flying Booger Hash House Harrier, man about town.