WEEI’s Kirk Minihane opens up about recent hospitalization after suicidal thoughts

"I stood in front of my car, and I said, ‘I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to die.'"

Fort Myers, FL  2/19/2018: At the same time that Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner (not pictured) were taking questions from the media, a short distance away, team CEO Sam Kennedy (left) was engaging in a conversation with WEEI morning drive talk show hosts Kirk Minihane (second from right) and Gerry Callahan (far right), as well as an unidentified man (second from left). The first full squad workout of Spring Training for the Red Sox was today at the Player Development Complex at Jet Blue Park. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
Kirk Minihane, center. –Jim Davis / The Boston Globe, File

Kirk Minihane returned to the WEEI airwaves Friday morning after being off since last Friday to undergo treatment for depression. And the co-host of “Kirk & Callahan” was an open book, sharing in great detail what led him to check in to the Winchester Hospital emergency room last Thursday night with suicidal thoughts.

“I’m not going to go into cliché world here, but this is a real thing,” Minihane said about depression. “And I think guys our age—depression still has a stigma of being sort of feminine and emasculating, and that’s not the case. At all. Absolutely not the case at all.

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“So if a couple [of guys] are going through it, hear this and feel a little better and say, ‘You know what, I’m not going to skip that therapist appointment today,’ or, ‘I will take those pills today.’ Great. Awesome.”

Minihane first explained his absence on Twitter Thursday night:

On Friday’s show, he said his battle with depression has been lifelong, but had “accelerated” over the past year with the death of both of his parents and especially over the past three to four weeks. He said he began researching suicide, particularly suicide by train.

That research led him to the Wedgemere commuter rail station in Winchester last Thursday. Over the course of his research, he had previously ridden that train and walked the tracks, Minihane said.

“A few minutes before [a train was scheduled to come], I stood in front of my car, and I said, ‘I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to die. I don’t—but I know—I don’t want to die,’” he said. “’But I also know this thing in my head keeps talking about this, saying, ‘Examine this and look at this and look at this and the word suicide, suicide, suicide.’’ … I felt for the past couple of weeks like I was having a heart attack almost all the time, I was having a hard time breathing.”

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Minihane said he held those internal feelings from those close to him.

“I said, ‘I simply cannot live like this anymore. I have to give over—I have to give up whatever power I have,’” he went on. “And I drove the car to Winchester Hospital and walked up to the emergency room people—woman—and said, ‘I’m having very dangerous thoughts,’ and that was the beginning of five days of hospitalization, between Winchester that overnight and McLean [Hospital] for four nights. … I feel a little better now. I feel cathartic, being able to tell my wife and my family and my friends that I was going through this.”

Listen to the full “Kirk & Callahan” segment below:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free and confidential 24/7 service: 1-800-273-8255.