Twin Cities radio host seeks happiness amid ‘the darkness’

Chris Hawkey, a radio talk show host in the Twin Cities, is certainly doing his part to convince people — especially men — to talk about mental illness and depression.

It follows the release of his song, “Happy.”

“I think it’s important at this point, with all the hatred that’s out there right now, that we start to speak out, and say it’s OK to have depression,” he tells the Star Tribune in an interview today.

You don’t always have to be a rock. You can say that you need help before you end up letting the darkness take over and take your own life. If you can’t talk to someone about that, it’s going to keep getting darker until you find a way to turn off the voice.

I hope that perhaps admitting my issues will help someone admit it to their family or go see a therapist. Then maybe they can turn off that voice before it’s too late.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, some fools on the Star Tribune’s comments attached to the interview proved Hawkey’s initial point.

“I applaud his willingness to share these issues. By the same token my depression would be lifted if KFAN would please, please cancel his idiotic morning drive time show,” said one. Classic. And pointless.

On many issues, the nation has reached a cultural moment, but depression and mental illness is still not yet one of them. People can hardly be blamed — and they will be — for not seeking help, but it’s undeniable that too often, humans seek out others’ perceived weaknesses and pounce with only ignorance as a weapon.

Take this tweet to writer/actor/comedian Andy Richter today, for example.

Richter’s thread — starting here (NSFW) should be required reading.

Hawkey’s song and round of interviews this week might push us toward the moment when people don’t feel they’re taking a risk talking about mental health, but we’re not there yet.

In an interview with KARE 11’s Jana Shortal this week, Hawkey said “there’s nothing worse than feeling you’re broken for no reason.”

Hawkey is hosting a fundraiser for suicide awareness at the Hard Rock Cafe in Bloomington.

  • Gary Leatherman

    I am glad and proud of Hawkey for ‘outing’ himself. It’s not easy. At all. Especially with depression. Not to take away from the important #metoo meme, but depression needs a similar tidal wave of identification and empathy. I’ll stand up and say it’s been over 10 years since I was diagnosed and while now my life is significantly better, it still is a struggle every single day. There is no cure, only management. The hardest part is that in order to manage it, you have to recognize it, name it, and seek help. You have to give up your facade of control in order to truly control it.

    Andy Richter is a hero too. As is fellow public radio host John Moe. His podcast “the Hilarious World of Depression” really brings the disease out in the open and starts to normalize discussing it. The episode with Andy is funny, sad and remarkable. As is the Sam Grittner episode where he talks about his failed suicide attempt. If you want to understand how someone can end up believing that suicide is the only option to a make the pain stop, take a listen. It’s both real and powerful.

    And thanks Bob, for continuing to regularly post on the topic of mental illness. Each one contributes to destigmatizing it and helping others cope and find help.