Carolina Hurricanes spotlight local mental health resources

Tom George Image
Sunday, January 28, 2024
Carolina Hurricanes spotlight mental health
In the rough and tumble world of hockey, it's easy to overlook the mental aspect off the ice.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- In the rough and tumble world of hockey, it's easy to overlook the mental aspect off the ice.

"It's so scary when you feel like somehow there's something wrong with you if you don't speak about it," said Hurricanes broadcast analyst Tripp Tracy.

Tracy now isn't afraid to share his own journey, struggling with alcohol addiction and mental health, prompting him to take a temporary leave from the team to get the help he needed.

"Every part of you thinks and it's like your brain tells you A, don't say anything and B, isolate, and that's the very worst thing you can do," he said.

Today as he heads into work in a much better head space, it was a full circle moment. The Canes hosted Hockey Talks for Saturday's game against the Arizona Coyotes, with local mental health resources setting up tables on the concourse - from the 988 suicide crisis line to resources for veterans, and the Raleigh-based HopeLine.

"When we have hockey players you know tough guys talking about what they do for their own mental wellness, it normalizes it for everyday folks that are dealing with it," said Rakhi Kreyerman with HopeLine.

HopeLine is a free anonymous line where people can get help. Calls across the Triangle have gone up since the pandemic. Today, they may have found some new recruits in Canes fans like Amanda Litaker.

"They're run on volunteers so it's really important to be out here and visible, have this visibility so that's what caught my eye," Litaker said.

Amanda said she's struggled with mental health herself and now on top of catching a game she can pay it forward.

"You're not alone, there's always someone that's gone through what you've gone through," she said.

A reminder that as fans root for the Canes, they're rooting for themselves just as much.

"If you can have the courage to pick up that phone when it's the very heaviest because the people with the biggest hearts that we see every day will support you," Tripp Tracy said.

If you are in immediate crisis, you can reach the suicide crisis line by dialing 988.

As for the HopeLine locally, you can call 919-231-4525. They also encourage people to call in even before things may have escalated - they say people often call for common issues people face, like job concerns, family issues, or help with parenting.