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Help with Demons

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:

Hash Haven_1

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.

© 2015, Flying Booger. All rights reserved.


About Flying Booger  Hash House Harrier, man about town.


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7 comments to Help with Demons

  • Great post. Thanks for sharing this. Maybe some hasher that needs the help will see this and they will find some support they can use and get pointed in the right direction! I love when I see things like this and the Lunar H3 group that’s raisng money for Make-A-Wish. It shows that even in our most ridiculous times… we are all still human and care of our fellow human!

  • Jason Ducky Skelton

    Booger,

    Thank you for the post. Hash Haven has been around for a few months and we have genuinely helped people. And they have helped me. We are here to help and we need help getting the word out. I’m afraid our resources are low but we have big hearts.

    Anyone can contact me as Ducky Hasher on FB or text me at 205-861-6599.

  • Pay Per View

    A much needed service for our community. I like to think that we all are well adjusted and fun people but having known a few hashers that took their own lives, that’s not the case.

  • i am a hasher who has suffered with depression on and off for a while. I am entering counseling and hope that will help. I’m glad to see s website like this. I’ve found if I am feeling really down , if I go on z hash I feel so much better bring around all my favorite people , being outside and getting some good exercise.

  • Tomomi "Legs" McWhirter

    John “Freezer Burn” Wills took his own life in 2011.

    In 2001, the year of 9/11, I introduced him about hash in TN while he taught me about a mountain bike. The end of the same year, he moved to VA. The closest hash was Seven Hills HHH (Lynchberg, VA). As he was originally from PA (also graduated from Penn State), visited a Nittany Valley HHH event. In 2002, he hosted a camp hash on his back yard in VA.

    I wrote about his passing on Hash-L but I did not mention that he committed a suicide. I was informed by his step mother and his sister about his death. His funeral was held in VA on the same weekend of InterAm 2011. I decided to attend the InterAm in Savannah, GA. When I was asked how he died, I told those hashers about his suicide.

    Freezer Burn had suffered a depression. But he loved hash and beer. He got married in 2005. His wife was a non-hasher. In 2011, he went through a divorce. But no one knows a real reason(s) of his suicide. His body was found by his coworker and a police a few days after his death in his home. He shot himself. They went his home because he had not showed up at work. “Badly decomposed”, his sister said.

    My closest to depression would be “PMS”, surely male hashers including Flying Booger don’t understand that. During a PMS time, I was NOT ME. And I could not control my depressed feelings.

    I love hashers and I have known a lot of hashers but I have had a very few true friends.

    But hash is one of places could find true/personal friends. Like “Hash Haven”, it is great if you could share the same or similar problem you are facing to.

    On, On!!! Legs : )

  • Legs, you are the greatest. Thanks for your comments and valuable insights!

  • ShineOn Harvard Moon

    Thanks for this FB!OnON!

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