Gail Sideman Publicity


For More Information Contact:     Gail Sideman

Acknowledge, Accept, Advance: Conversations continue after pro golfer’s suicide

Grayson Murray

Another life is gone too soon. Not because he, a 30-year-old professional golfer, had some down days or played a few bad holes. Grayson Murray spoke openly about his ongoing battle with depression, anxiety and alcohol. Despite his fight, they took him down.

According to his parents, who released a statement via the PGA Tour, Murray died by suicide. As we close out Mental Health Awareness Month, Murray’s challenges remind us that mental health diseases and disorders affect families longer than 31 days a year. No matter how much we love and support our friends, family and teammates, demons live inside some people that often can’t be identified or described.

“We all want to beat each other, and then something like this happens, and you realize we’re all just humans,” PGA Tour golfer, Peter Malnati, emotionally told CBS Sports reporter, Amanda Balionis, after his final round at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.

Grayson Murray
PGA Tour member Grayson Murray died by suicide.

Whether or not you knew of Murray, his family’s statement wrenched hearts. If you’ve experienced that kind of hurt, you understand sometimes there’s little anyone can do but love and do your damndest to help. Medication and therapy are valuable, but like other illnesses, some people don’t respond to one or both.

One of my first clients as an independent publicist was a psychotherapist who worked tirelessly to help shatter stigmas surrounding mental illness. We refreshed one storyline each year that amplified depression and other anxiety disorders as medical conditions, not things to criticize or be ashamed of. Some reactions following Murray’s death show they’re still disproportionately misunderstood and not as destigmatized as some think.

Keep Talking

Athletes, actors and other public-facing individuals who have spoken about mental health hurdles, including Grayson Murray, are reasons the topic has inched beyond taboo but they can be tricky to understand. Everyone who lives with mental illness whether themselves or supporting a loved one, experiences them differently. There’s no one-size-fits-all.

Client/collaborator’s thoughts live on

Taking a page from what Ms. Betsy and I shared years ago, our publicity pitch, which still applies today: Acknowledge, Accept and Advance discussion about mental health.

— Acknowledge that someone in your world might be struggling — don’t push away or deny it’s there. It’s ok to not be ok.

— Accept that you can love that person with every fiber; even when that person gets help, it might not be enough to stem or stop their pain.

— Advance conversations with people you know are hurting. They may not want to be a burden, so compassionately and frequently check in to let them know you’re there for however they feel. Also, advance conversations with someone who dares brush off another person’s mental illness with, “He’s moody” or “She’s a coward” for not facing this/that. Correct them. Challenge them.

What can we do?

When more people learn that mental health is health, it allows us to step closer to preventing tragic outcomes. Empathize and respect others. Don’t minimize depression as a bad day or a lousy round of golf. Understand that for some, simple things may amp anxiety and be debilitating.

Mental health challenges don’t discriminate.

You may know people who excel in public yet hurt in private. They’re our neighbors, teammates, peers, friends and family. As Grayson’s parents wrote, we can honor him by being kind to one another. “If that becomes his legacy, we could ask for nothing else.”

May Grayson Murray’s memory be a blessing and teach us all to respect, accept and love one another a little more each day.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or call     1-800-273-TALK (8255).


©Gail Sideman, gpublicity 2024

Share on:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Categories