I really love stories of impact and need that are told as first-person narratives. This means asking people to tell their own stories. It isn’t always easy, people don’t always open up the way you’d like – or deliver the message that you want.
In order for someone to tell their own story effectively in a first-person narrative, you must create a balance between making that person feel comfortable with you (and a camera), and asking them the right questions. Sometimes this takes time, other times – you’ll be surprised at how people want to talk.
Last week I found this amazing guest blog post on the (NHLPA’s) Players Tribune by Chicago Blackhawk Daniel Carcillo, writing about his reaction to the suicide death of his friend and former teammate Steve Montador:
When I rejoined the team after taking a few days off for Monty’s funeral, I couldn’t put what happened out of my mind. One night on the road, I started writing down my thoughts on Hilton hotel notepads. Why do NHL players struggle so much with moving on from the game? Why are so many former players I know battling depression? Why does the hockey community ignore them when they’re gone? And why can’t we create a more concrete program to help them transition into real life?
Later on in the post, Carcillo sits in front of a camera and talks. The rawness of his emotion will grab you in the first 20 seconds. Here is a professional athlete talking about the mental health of NHL players, and his own mental health.*
As you watch this video, think about the comfort he feels opening up. Think of the open-ended questions that Carcillo was asked to get him to talk about his emotions around losing his friend, talking about how players feel when they leave the NHL… and how they got him to link it into the services provided by the NHLPA.
*Kudos to Carcillo for speaking out about mental health and the NHL.