Taking inspiration from Robin Lehner's experience with depression


NBC Sports Chicago's Sarah Lauch worked with Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner for the upcoming documentary "Headstrong." Talking with Lehner about mental health returned her mind to her close experience with depression.

“Try some melatonin.”

That was the last thing that I typed to my brother before he committed suicide. 

He was reaching out, desperate, unable to sleep, depressed and as I found out shortly after, he was teetering between life and death. Imagine my regrets.

In the past, I ignored friends and family who said that they “could not get out of bed” or “could not attend an event because of their anxiety.” I brushed it off as laziness and was angry that I was able to function with so much going on and they just “laid around.” They were seemingly happy on the outside, so it was confusing to me. Now, having many close friends with mental health issues and having a nephew with no father, I regret that those thoughts EVER crossed my mind.

For the past few months, we have been producing content about mental health and sports, leading up to the release of the NBC Sports documentary “Headstrong.” When I was initially tasked with the assignment, my heart dropped. Less than two years after Bryan’s untimely death, the scars were still fresh. How would I interview people about a subject so close to me? How would I keep my cool if someone cried in front of me? How pissed off and resentful would I be that the interview subject was spared and Bryan was gone?

It was not easy, but it was cathartic.

Robin Lehner, the Blackhawks new goalie, inspired me to write this. It isn’t for the people that have depression and suicidal thoughts, I cannot imagine what they go through. This is for the people like me that brushed it off, until it hit home. Literal home.

“When I am in a deep depression, I do not even care about my own kids,” says Lehner.

When we release Lehner’s feature in the next few weeks, I hope that you listen to his words. He has gone through hell and back, but he has a team that supports him, that wants to be there for him and he feels empowered to talk about it, instead of bowing to the pressure of society to hide it. Robin is doing it right.

Many told me that once my brother made up his mind to end his life that there was no going back. I do not believe that. That was to make me and my family, left in despair, feel better. l believe that there is always hope….something to live for...some way to show desperate people that they are important.

I learned a lot producing and editing this content, but more importantly, I am hopeful that these stories could save lives. The documentary is extraordinary and the timing is impeccable.

“Headstrong” premieres on NBC Sports Chicago on Nov. 9 at 9 p.m. 

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