As part of Mental Health Awareness week, Arsenal legend, Kelly Smith, has revealed that she almost took her own life after breaking her leg 13 years ago.
- Started senior career at Wembley Ladies
- Smith suffered two cruciate knee ligament tears in two years
- Almost committed suicide after leg-break in 2004
- Scored 46 goals for England
- Announced retirement from football on 11 January 2017
Smith, who retired at the beginning of 2017 after falling pregnant, was no stranger to injuries during her phenomenal career.
In 2002, she tore her an anterior cruciate ligament in her knee while playing for WUSA team, Philadelphia Charge, which forced her to miss most of the season.
Then, the following year, she did it again.
In 2004, the forward was playing for New Jersey Wildcats in the W-League when she broke her leg.
After three years completely ruined by injury, Smith turned to alcohol to help her cope and even contemplated ending her own life.
“I was very, very low to the point where I had suicidal thoughts,” Smith told ITV London.
“I remember walking around my apartment and looking at the lighting fixtures and the wardrobe fixtures and thinking could I hang a bed sheet there and hang myself. Would that hold my weight?
“Those were my deepest darkest days and they happened on a consistent basis.”
She added, “Even now talking about it, I’m thinking is this the right thing to do, to tell you and to tell the world. But if I can help other people along the way, because there are so many other athletes and people who go through these same things, that it’s okay to talk about it, it can help other people.”
Speaking out about mental health struggles is deeply personal and so brave.
Massive respect to Kelly for encouraging others to talk about these issues.
If you live in the UK and are affected by any of the issues Kelly has spoken about, don’t suffer in silence. You can call Samaritans for free, all day, everyday on 116 123 from any phone.
Alternatively, here‘s a list of suicide prevention hotlines and other useful numbers from around the world.