Depression Could Have Played A Part In Gary Speed’s Death


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.

Comments welcome.


22 comments so far

  • Toon_Tom

    Nov 28, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #1

    RIP

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  • TS -77

    Nov 28, 2011 at 9:36 AM

    Comment #2

    So sad.. Rest In Peace Gary. Thoughts goes out to his wife and children.

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  • Stuart

    Nov 28, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    Comment #3

    Yesterday was such a horrible day, the news was such a shock, as it would have been to anyone after seeing him on Saturday on Football Focus.

    Didnt believe it when my mate rang to tell me, it was only when I turned on the news I started to accept it must be true.

    To think of what happened and what must’ve been going through his head is terrible, and I hope this tragic loss will highlight the dangers of depression, as alot of people such as Gary can seem perfectly fine to the outside world but completely falling apart inside.

    This has been a terrible loss and I will never forget all he did for Newcastle and football in general.

    Great man, forever missed.

    RIP Gary Speed.

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  • Rotonda heights

    Nov 28, 2011 at 9:41 AM

    Comment #4

    RIP GARY,

    lovely man, words can not describe what a devastating loss he is.

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  • roshan MAGPIE

    Nov 28, 2011 at 9:41 AM

    Comment #5

    i saw a ben ARFA interview where he says that we can win premier league it seems that he IS over confident

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  • GeordieToon89

    Nov 28, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #6

    Roshan – think Ben Arfas going to be abit disapointed at the end of the season

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  • Xavi

    Nov 28, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #7

    Was absolutely gutted to hear the passing of Gary Speed. Couldnt believe it and even more so when I heard he had taken his own life. I hate to think what was going through his head the moments before and it angers me someone I idolised and respected so much could do such a selfish act. I wish I couldve done something to help, so many people wouldve…

    My thoughts are with you and your family.
    Gone too soon

    RIP Gary Speed

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  • PHOENIXNIGHTS

    Nov 28, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #8

    You never know with depression – he looked full of beans on Saturday . Even a few days on I am still really sad about this. I am sure he will be ast up top with Sir Bobby and Jacky Milburn watching over SJP.
    R.I.P

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  • angelswithdirtyfaces

    Nov 28, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #9

    Good post Ed,

    I have had both a major cancer and chronic depression, surviving both but the depression was, for me, by far the most painful and as it happened, more life threatening.
    One on four of us adults will have a mental illness – often depressive. Other footballers have had problems and in the average Toon crowd there’ll be 10,000 plus fans who’ll have to deal with some kind of mental illness. If Gary Speed’s death can help anyone else come to terms with these problems it won’t have been totally in vain – but like you I don’t know why it feels such a loss just now. Being Welsh and knowing how he’d turned our national team around just makes it worse.

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  • lesh

    Nov 28, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    Comment #10

    This appeared in Saturday’s Guardian…..

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2011/nov/25/the-secret-footballer?newsfeed=true

    What an eerie coincidence and a real shame

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  • howway geordies

    Nov 28, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #11

    Gary is admired and respected by managers, players and fans throughout the football world and no doubt by those who knew him personally. He played football and conducted himself in an exemplary way that was an inspiration to others. It is tragic that he died at such a young age, particularly in such circumstances. If depression played a part in his death, hopefully it will lead to better understanding of this terrible illness. In my opinion suicide is not a selfish act, although it must be dreadful for family and friends.

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  • taker83

    Nov 28, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #12

    Rest in peace Gary The Legend Speed.U played a vital role during our good run under Sir Bobby.

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  • Magforlife

    Nov 28, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #13

    Sad day yesterday R.I.P Gary
    Thoughts to his family, you will be missed by so many

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  • Ian Magpie

    Nov 28, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #14

    A tragic and horrible day! Totally shocked that we have lost a great servant to the club but also one of lifes nice people!

    Depression is such an awful thing! For those who have never suffered from it, it is difficult to understand. I have personally suffered badly with depression and know that know one but Gary himself will have known the severity of the pain he was going through! Seeing him on football focus, most would never have known what was going on in his mind. Suicide is devastating and leaves a pain and a scarr on the lives of loved ones left behind. Ive lost 3 friends to suicide all lads in their late 30’s mid 40’s and if anything possitive can be gained from this tragic loss it is that it may shine a light on mental illness and its devastating consequences. Rest in peace Gary Speed and may your family and loved ones be given strength to get through this awful time! God Bless Bonny Lad.

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  • Brutooon

    Nov 28, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #15

    RIP Gary Speed

    You are the kind of player every manager want, every young player look up to.

    From your fan in far far away in Asia

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  • Visten

    Nov 28, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    Comment #16

    RIP Gary a true true gentlemen in combination with great skill and determination to be a winner in football and life. You will be dearly missed by us all.

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  • stk85

    Nov 28, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    Comment #17

    i’m still struggling to come o terms with this. everything about the man has been said, but somehow this does not do him justice. he may have had his demons and i wish he’d had the bravery to confront these with one of the fantastic services the medical profession provide for such illnesses, and i really wish he was still here.

    i never knew him, but he was my hero. first newcastle shirt i got in 1998, i got speed 11 on the back, as soon as he joined. i remember asking my granddad from leeds back in 1994 when i was still deciding who to support who were leeds best players and apart from gary mccallister, speed was the other he spoke about in glowing terms. from then on i watched him. i almost became a leeds fan for that very reason.

    and then he came to newcastle. my midfield hero played for my hero manager in a team full of heroes.

    i’m not gonna take my speed 11 shirt off this week.

    Gary, you were a true gentleman, you conducted your life in such an admirable way, dedicated to the cause. not to mention such a good looking bloke! and i so wanted you to manage nufc one day.

    my thoughts and sympathies are with your family and friends, and hope you found peace.

    RIP my hero

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  • Munster Mag

    Nov 28, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    Comment #18

    Angelswithdirtyfaces…..touching words, and well done to you for surviving both. RIP Gary Speed.

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  • joppadoni

    Nov 28, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    Comment #19

    the most shocking news ive ever read. i cant believe it.. im gunna go get pissed tonight like i had to last night. oh what the fack is happening in the world these days 🙁 i really feel for his boys, his wife and his friends… if i feel this sh ite i cant imagine how they must feel … rest gently Gary

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  • catchy in norway

    Nov 28, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    Comment #20

    its hard to imagine the pain he must have been in to do something like this,
    to hear what his friends have been saying about him only confirms what a hero/role model he really was, he is what i would say was a proper footballer, he led like a leader, never sherked a challang , played hard but fair, someone you would want on your team,,

    ED, PLEASE IT WOULD BE GREAT IF YOU COULD OPEN A BLOG PAGE, SO FANS COULD WRITE A LITTLE SOMETHING ABOUT THE GUY, MAYBE HAVE A WHOLE DAY WHERE YOU DONT POST ANYTHING ELS, SO FANS COULD PAY THERE RESPECTS TO A TRUE HERO

    THANKS

    LEE

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  • Toon-Barmy

    Nov 28, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    Comment #21

    Still can’t believe this is true! I only met Gary a few times but I always came away thinking that he was a real gentleman!
    I think Gary McCallister said it best, he was a movie star! I feel proud to have met him.

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  • TONY ROBSON

    Nov 28, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    Comment #22

    This is one of the saddest weekends I have ever had. Gary Speed never let the Toon down, his contribution should never ever be underestimated. Shay proved yesterday how we all felt. The club needs to do something special this weekend. LAND OF MY FATHERS should ring out round ST JAMES’ PARK this weekend. The world is a missing a true role model. Three heroes since 1996. Shearer, Given and SPEED. RIP Gary,
    The Toon Army loves you.

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