Emmanuel Adebayor says he considered suicide on multiple occasions as his family situation worsened, but is glad to have it all out in the open now.
The former Arsenal striker, who also played for Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace before joining current club Basaksehir, says his family only ever called him to demand money. They seemed to have no concern for Emmanuel as a person, or his well-being.
That drove Adebayor to a very dark place, as he explained to French outlet So Foot (via The Sun): “I felt like killing myself so many times. I kept this to myself for years and years. I am disgusted that things reached this stage, but I feel relieved to have talked about it.
“My football career will be finished in three or four years. By contrast my family name will remain with me – together with these people. Things are hard to bear when you are working hard to lift your family our of poverty, but they are still opposed to you.
“I have always told my younger brothers that we have been manipulated by our families. I often change my phone number so that my family can’t contact me. They call me, not to ask how I am, but to demand money. That was the case after I injured my hamstring while with Tottenham.
“They rang me while I was having a scan to ask me if I could pay a kid’s school fees. At least ask me first how I am before you do this!”
Adebayor’s story serves as a reminder that even if you’re a Premier League footballer, making tons of money and playing for some of the best teams in the world, that doesn’t mean your mental health can’t be affected.
Unfortunately, we’ve had plenty of reminders of that this year, including high-profile examples like the suicide of Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington over the summer. Anyone can be affected, and there should be no shame in that. Hopefully the repetition of that message throughout 2017 will help people to reach out to others, talk about their problems like Adebayor has, and seek the assistance of professionals if necessary.
Stephen Bradley wrote an article for us, about his experience with suicide earlier this year, which is worth a read. If you’re going through anything yourself, you can also contact Samaritans, further information on how to do so is available in the following link: Samaritans.