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In Speedy’s memory: Raising awareness of mental illness and suicide
First Published Jan 06 2014 01:28 pm • Last Updated Jan 06 2014 11:30 pm

Jeret Peterson’s family and friends established the Speedy Foundation in honor of the Olympic silver medalist. The foundation strives to raise awareness and encourages people to discuss mental illness and suicide more openly. Idaho, Peterson’s home state, has one of the highest suicide rates in the country, 49 percent higher than the national average.

The foundation raised money to establish Idaho’s first suicide hotline, and Peterson’s family and friends hope that’s only the beginning.

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"Sport has tremendous outreach," said Mike Ruzek, chair of the foundation’s board. "People look up to athletes, and those athletes have a platform to reach people — Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, Magic Johnson. Sports has opened doors and provided an entry point to discuss larger social issues. Well, Speedy is helping us talk about something important and the time has really come for the de-stigmatization of mental illness."

For more information, visit thespeedyfoundation.org

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Mental illness by the numbers

1 in 4: Adults who suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.

1 in 10: Americans who suffer from depression.

36,000: Suicides in the U.S. each year, more than the number of deaths that result from car crashes.

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