I was watching the Swansea vs Aston Villa game on TV yesterday when it was announced out of the blue that Gary Speed had died at 42.
Shay Given in tears during the minute’s tribute to Gary Speed yesterday
At first I thought it may have been a heart attack, since no details were given in the telecast about the nature of Speed’s death.
But on reading the news on the Internet about Gary’s death, the Chesire Police had already said that it was suicide, and that the former Newcastle player had hanged himself.
And that made it even more difficult to take, but it does put light on depression, which is a terrible disease to suffer from, and one that too many people in today’s world keep secret.
While it has not been officially reported what exactly caused Gary to take his own life, Paul Farmer, the Chief Executive of the mental health charity Mind, seems to think it could have played a part, and he had this to say about Speed’s death today:
“The apparent suicide of Gary Speed is a tragic and shocking event,” “Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this very difficult time.”
“The high-pressure environment of top-level sport can cause huge levels of stress and, just because someone appears to be able to carry on their usual daily life, it does not mean that they are not struggling in private.”
“Gary Speed is not the first footballer to experience mental distress and nor, sadly, will he be the last.”
“The suicide of German goalkeeper Robert Enke in 2009 shows that sportsmen, like anyone else, are not immune from the devastating effects of mental health problems.”
I didn’t know Gary Speed personally, but I had a really hard time yesterday coming to grips with the 42 year-old’s death.
If Gary’s death can do some good by shedding more light on depression and mental anxiety, and allow those suffering from it to seek treatment, then that will be a good thing.
But most people are still in shock about what happened yesterday, to one of the really good guys of football.