Follow KSU News on Twitter

Kent State Playing Important Part in Suicide Prevention on Campus and in the Community (04/14/2009)

A gift from the Kent State University Office of Safety and Security to the Portage County Suicide Prevention Coalition last year set off a sequence of events that will culminate in a speech by a former NFL quarterback on surviving depression and suicide loss April 28 in the Kiva.

Eric Hipple, who led the Detroit Lions in the 1980s, will talk about his own depression and his family’s experience with the suicide of his 15-year-old son in 2000. The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. Admission is free and parking is provided by the KSU Office of Safety and Security and Delta Tau Delta.

The KSU Office of Safety and Security raised $1,220 last October to go toward education activities of the Suicide Prevention Coalition. Assistant Security Manager Zaki Hazou coordinated the efforts of his co-workers who were able to exceed their $1,000 goal for the fundraiser. He wants the project to become an annual awareness and fundraising event.

The coalition saw the timing of a generous donation as a springboard for ramped up efforts to increase education about depression and other mental illnesses, which can lead to suicide especially when combined with substance abuse.

“The gift from KSU came at the same time we learned about Eric Hipple’s presentation,” said Joel Mowrey, Ph.D., associate director of the Mental Health and Recovery Board and an adjunct professor in the Department of Psychology and College of Education at Kent State. We believe his talk will hit home with the audience in Northeast Ohio. We are grateful for the participation of KSU that makes it possible to host the event on campus.”

Hazou estimated that 200 staff, students and parents donated during his office’s fall fundraising project. About 80 completed a survey, the results of which indicated that 72 percent or 58 of those surveyed had been affected by the suicide of a family member or friend.

Hazou has enlisted the aid of the members of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity in supporting and publicizing the April 28 talk in the Kiva.

Both are working with the Portage County coalition, the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Portage County, Coleman Foundation, the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation and Townhall II to fund the Hipple talk and increase education about suicide prevention.

Hipple is a former NFL quarterback whose 10-year career was spent entirely with the Detroit Lions. His accomplishments include two playoff bids and a divisional championship. In addition, he was named Most Valuable Player for the 1981 season. His jersey hangs in the Canton Football Hall of Fame. He's ranked fifth in all-time career passing yards in the Detroit record books.

Since his retirement from the Detroit Lions, Hipple has been a professional motivational speaker. Hipple's public speaking work shifted to topics of depressive disorder awareness and treatment, and to suicide prevention in 2000, after the tragic death of his son.

Hipple currently serves on the American Association of Suicidology board (AAS) and Michigan's Mental Illness Research Association (MIRA), a fund-raising organization that gives grants to further brain research. He works at the University of Michigan's Depression Center as outreach coordinator.

Hipple has recently authored a book "Real Men DO Cry." His book chronicles his life as an NFL quarterback from youth to his current position and his struggle with suicide loss and his own depression. His story is one of hope and recovery and uses education as well practical advice to help others live and enjoy life again.

Other KSU members of the Portage County Suicide Prevention Coalition include: University Health Services; KSU Counseling Center, Counseling and Human Development Center, and the College of Nursing.

Free CEU's (two contact hours) will be available for social workers, counselors, marriage and family therapists and substance abuse treatment professionals needing RCH's. To register for free CEU’s or for information, call 330-678-3006 or email

Media Contact: Amie Cajka, 330-673-1756,


This page was last modified on September 8, 2009