Ex-Liverpool star Jason McAteer thought about killing himself while picking young son up from school
Former Premier League star player Jason McAteer has described the moment he contemplated suicide in a heartfelt interview while on the way to pick his young son up from school.
During a TV interview, the midfielder revealed he had suffered “bad bout of depression” following his retirement from football – and at one stage thought about taking his own life.
McAteer, who played for Liverpool and Bolton as well as the Irish National team, was speaking to Ryan Tubridy on The Late Late Show in Ireland, reports the Liverpool Echo.
He said he found the transition when he retired from professional football in 2007 difficult.
“It’s like a light switch the day you finish. You go home and there’s nothing there. You’re not going in the next day. Your friends are not there … and it’s very, very difficult and… yeah… I suffered from a bad bout of depression to be fair. I got really messed up.”
He added that the reality of hanging up his boots didn’t really sink in until the next season began.
“When you finish it’s at the end of the season so the lads are all on holiday… and then the season starts and you realise there’s no football club and you haven’t got it anymore.”
The former Irish International said it can be hard to recognise the signs when you are suffering from mental health problems.
“Depression takes a hold of you. You don’t realise that you’re actually in this world. You think it’s the norm but you’re doing things out of character that your close friends or family would see.”
The 45-year-old became so affected by the illness that he considered suicide.
“I got to a point where I was a real mess. I remember one particular time when I was driving through the Mersey Tunnel go see Harry, [his son] and pick him up from school.
“I just thought I could end all this now… I could throw this car now and absolutely quit on everything.”
“And Harry’s image come into my head and I wondered how he would take it. Then I thought about the oncoming car, who was going to be in it? Was it going to be a mother? Was it going to be kids? What was the impact of that?
“What would be the impact of that? Before I knew it, I was at the end of the tunnel and I remember going back to my mum’s that night and having a bit of a breakdown to be fair and a lot of tears and emotion came out.”
When asked about how he is now he replied: “I’m amazing.”
And his advice to people who may be dealing with mental health issues is to “admit it”.
“You’ve got to tell yourself you’re a mess, you’ve got to admit that or else it’s not going to work.
“You’ve got to have therapy, you’ve got to be honest with your therapist and tell it as it is and they will guide you, they will bring you through it. You come out the other side and you’re stronger.”