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Parents discuss son’s suicide in effort to help others, share how he lived

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — The parents of a Wabash College football player who died from suicide three weeks ago are sharing his story.

Evan Hansen’s parents say they are sharing his story for two reasons: They want to create awareness about mental health and they want to share with people about how he lived. 

Evan’s parents, Chuck and Mary Hansen, say he was friendly to everyone he met, whether that was coaches or teammates, people at school. 

Evan was a middle linebacker at Wabash College and captain of the football team. 

He spent a semester abroad learning Spanish. His goal was to become a nurse working in underprivileged communities. This past summer, he worked as a translator between doctors and patients in Washington D.C.

His parents said he mentioned that he was having some depression issues about a year ago and that he had been getting professional help. 

He was scheduled to have a follow-up session with a counselor the day he passed away… three weeks ago yesterday. 

“At his visitation, Mary and I stood there for almost six hours while hundreds and hundreds people came to visit. At the funeral it was standing room only, and it was a very powerful funeral and and it’s because he touched the lives of so many people,” said Chuck Hansen.

“So many people cared and it wasn’t because he was famous or had lots of money or captain of industry, it was just because he was their friend.”

The Hansen’s say they have received a ton of support and messages from people sharing their stories about Evan, and even sharing about their own mental health struggles. 

“Evan, he’s the captain of the football team, he’s doing great in school, he’s popular, he’s got a plan for his life, everything’s going his way but internally, he was struggling with something,” said Chuck Hansen.

“So people shouldn’t be ashamed of what they’re feeling inside and they should be feel free to talk about somebody, whether it’s professionally or a friend and try to remove the stigma from it. We’ve had a lot of feedback from people, that said I’ve had depression for 20 years and and I was never able to talk about it but last week, I started.”

Evan worked at the Merciful H.E.L.P. Center, serving people in Hamilton County. 

If you’d like to help honor his memory, his family is asking people to consider donating. You can do so here.

Evan was also an organ donor. His parents say they were told he helped up to 100 people. 

The day after he died, someone from Boston University contacted Evan’s dad. Their school of medicine is doing research on CTE, the degenerative brain disease found in athletes. 

Evan is being tested. His family says it could take several months to get the results.