SAN JOSE — Jamie Baker simply felt it was time.
Inspired by his oldest daughter’s touching post on Instagram last week and noticing it was Bell Let’s Talk day across Canada on Wednesday, Baker, the longtime Sharks broadcaster and former player, decided he needed to share more of what he’s been dealing with for about two decades.
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While at Lake Tahoe with a friend, Baker tweeted, “I didn’t sleep well for 15-20 years. I’ve battled depression, hated myself to the point I almost almost committed suicide on numerous occasions. I’ve battled addiction to self medicate. PLEASE PLEASE remember you are NOT alone. End the stigma #BellLetsTalk”
Baker stepped away on two occasions last season from his duties with the Sharks to solely focus on his personal well-being. While Baker is not ready yet to discuss everything he’s endured, his tweet Wednesday marked the first time he’s partly shared some of his experiences..
I didn’t sleep well for 15-20 years. I’ve battled depression, hated myself to the point I almost almost committed suicide on numerous occasions. I’ve battled addiction to self medicate. PLEASE PLEASE remember you are NOT alone. End the stigma #BellLetsTalk
— Jamie Baker (@Bakes_Jamie13) January 30, 2019
“It’s Bell’s Let’s Talk day, and I wanted to contribute,” Baker said Thursday. “I was inspired by my daughter. Being on a leave of absence a year ago and working as hard as I have to get where I am today, I felt it was a good time to share a few nuggets of what I’ve been through, in hope that even if one other person notices and is open about it, and talks about it with somebody and it helps them, then it was worth it.
“And if it was two, then it was doubly worth it.”
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On her Instagram post, Reilly Baker said she found a note that she had written to herself six years before that said, “I hope you have followed your dream and are becoming an actress and living in Southern California.”
Reilly Baker detailed all what she has been through in that time, her emotional and physical struggles, and how she is now living in Southern California and starting a career in acting.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” Jamie Baker said. “She was sharing her story. It was interesting, because at some point, I want to share my story so I can hopefully inspire others to talk to people, to get help, to do what’s necessary. You can overcome whatever you’re dealing with.”
Jamie Baker’s tweet received thousands of likes and retweets, to go with dozens of replies that Baker went back and liked Thursday morning to acknowledge everyone who reached out.
“But I’m not doing it for that. I’m not doing it for me,” Baker said. “This is for other people.”
Bell, a telecommunications giant in Canada, and its Let’s Talk initiative has been around since 2010. According to its website, the initiative aims to fight the stigma of mental illness, improve access to care, support research and lead by example in workplace mental health.
Wednesday, according to Bell, over 145 million interactions were created, as the company donated five cents toward mental health initiatives in Canada for every applicable text, call, tweet, social media video view and use of its Facebook frame or Snapchat filter that featured the #BellLetsTalk hashtag..
Bell tweeted that $7,272,134.95 was raised Wednesday for mental health programs, raising the total to $100,695,763.75.
“I’m a small piece of the puzzle,” Baker said. “It was so nice of these people to say the things that they were, but it’s not why I did it. I didn’t do it for that. I did it because it’s Bell Let’s Talk, and if Jamie Baker is willing to talk, then maybe somebody else is too. I’m willing to share my story to some degree.
“It’s not easy to do that, but that’s what yesterday was about.”