Former South Carolina TE Hayden Hurst opens up about mental health struggles; reveals he attempted suicide
May is mental health month, and to honor that, the ESPN Daily podcast had former South Carolina TE Hayden Hurst join host Mina Kimes on Wednesday’s episode.
Hurst is preparing for his third season in the NFL and is now a member of the Atlanta Falcons, but he almost didn’t make it to this point.
During the podcast, Hurst discussed his own struggles with mental health. He also shared a story about how he attempted suicide a few years ago when he was with the Gamecocks:
“Just that drinking and that decision-making wasn’t my proudest moment my freshman year,” he said. “It took me making that decision that night to drink and take pills to get to where I am now. I think that’s a huge part of the person I am today. Unfortunately, I had to go through some things to get where I am today.”
He then goes on to describe the night in January of 2016 when he almost ended his life:
“I was out with some buddies and we were drinking. I decided to take some pills with drinking,” he said. “For me, when I was drinking, if I didn’t reach the point where I would incapacitate myself, I’d have some pretty dark and depressed thoughts. That was kind of always the goal, I guess, when I was drinking was to kind of numb the pain. I felt like I let my family down leaving baseball and things like that. It was a lot of pressure on me.
“When I would go out drinking with my friends, it wasn’t necessarily a social or casual thing. It was me trying to escape those feelings of embarrassment and disappointment. If I didn’t reach the point where I would incapacitate myself, it was pretty scary the thoughts that would go through my mind.
“Unfortunately, that night was just a culmination of everything from those 3 years. I ended up going back to my apartment and I cut my wrists and I ended up in the hospital. I wanna say I was shocked and just disappointed in myself.
“My parents were in Jacksonville, Florida, and they had to drive up 4 hours and I’m sure they were absolutely terrified. My sister as well. She actually drove to Columbia from Atlanta. I don’t know if I have a word to describe the way I was feeling, but at that moment, when I was sitting there handcuffed to a hospital bed, I was just so disappointed in myself that I let everything get to that point.”
In the clip below, Hurst describes how difficult it can be to open up about mental health with those closest to you:
Four years ago, Hayden Hurst’s struggles with depression led him to nearly take his own life. Today, he tells us how he learned to stop bottling up his issues, and why he wants to help others now.
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) May 20, 2020
Fortunately, Hurst survived and now he’s using his NFL platform to let others know that they aren’t alone in their struggles.
Hurst goes on to detail how he got help. You can listen to the full episode of ESPN Daily here.
If you or someone you love are struggling with mental health issues and/or contemplating suicide, please reach out to the counselors with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The phone number is 1-800-273-8255.