FSU PD Major Opens up about Battling Depression

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Tallahassee, FL - December 31, 2012

FSU's Major Jim Russell has taken to the streets, hundreds of miles at a time to raise awareness about suicide.

But behind the glasses was a dark secret he had been carrying for decades.

Russell described it as a "deep pit of hopeless and worthlessness for no particular reason."

While doing research for the FSU Police Department about suicide among college students, he recognized some similarities.
"As he [a doctor] was talking about it, I said wow, he's describing me," said Russell.

Russell's doctor diagnosed him with clinical depression.
For years Russell has been the face of FSU Police Department.

Members of our Eyewitness News team were even shocked to know the smiling man we've interviewed countless times, was battling a mental illness.

"I would go to work and knew I needed to maintain a good professional relationship," said Russell. "I knew I needed to be energetic I knew that people depended on me to lead basically."

He's going public with his battle to try to help others.

His New Year's resolution is to ride 11,000 miles during 2013.

That's how many people die in Florida every 5 years from suicide.

"If we can destroy that stigma that people are afraid to get help," said Russell, "then that number can come down."

To do it, he'll ride an average of 30 miles a day at around 17 miles an hour for 365 days.

It's a challenge he isn't taking lightly.

"I might have some cold days, some rainy days, but I'll get it done," said Russell.

He will document his personal journey and his biking progress throughout the year on his blog. You can find that link below this story.

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