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Rick Ness Explains His Absence From Gold Rush

Working in the gold mining industry can take its toll on the most robust individual. Besides long hours, hostile weather, and looming deadlines, gold mining is taxing physically and mentally. This isn't even considering what a miner's personal life might look like, which is one of the reasons why longtime "Gold Rush" fixture Rick Ness is absent in several episodes of the popular show. "Gold Rush" addresses what was going on in Season 13, Episode 2, which sees one of Ness' crew visit him at his home.

When Ness' friend, Zee Zaremba, arrives, he asks Ness why he hasn't returned to show. Ness mentions the previous gold mining season drained him, and he was suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Zaremba isn't pleased with this answer, and he bring up the passing of Ness' mother, which is another factor impacting him; although, he's working on it. 

"I am doing better, but there's just a lot of things that I don't understand still ... with whatever this is I'm going through ... It's tough. Zee brought up my mother passing," Ness said in October 2022. "I don't like talking about it because he's not wrong ... I have her house ... I haven't been there in two years ... I probably need to go there, I think, to face it. Maybe that'll help; maybe it won't."

Ness just had to deal with some personal issues before returning to Gold Rush

When discussing this loss, Rick Ness addresses how it's frustrating not to know what is causing this inner turmoil. He also admits that he will return to mining when he is ready.

These sad words highlight why Ness is missing from episodes of "Gold Rush," and it seems like it is a combination of external and internal pressures in his life. The loss of anybody's parent is a life-altering event that can take years to process. This can be even more apparent when one is the executor of an estate. If Ness is the executor, that means he would need to get his mother's affairs in order on top of taking care of himself.

Nevertheless, Ness did also have some hopeful words to say about the situation, adding, "When I'm ready, I will be gold mining again. I just don't know when that is." Based on his social media activity, that day may come sooner for fans than later. 

Ness appears to be on the mend

This helps explain Rick Ness' absence from the show, and shortly after the above episode aired, Ness started to post far more positive messages on Facebook, with a post from December 2022 saying his life is getting better. Meanwhile, a post in February 2023 asked if any mechanics might be interested in joining his crew, implying he might be gearing up for work again.

Still, Ness' absence from "Gold Rush" represents deeply personal issues, but Ness has been able to lift himself up and get back into the proverbial saddle. They don't call him the "Comeback Kid" from nothing.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health's website.