Dean Windass discusses his 'shame' at depression battle

Former Hull City and Bradford striker Dean Windass has spoken about how he overcame the shame he felt about his battle with depression.

In January the 43-year-old admitted that he had attempted to commit suicide after the end of his playing career.

"The hardest thing is to admit you are depressed," he told BBC Late Kick Off Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

"There are a lot of people out there who are depressed and they don't want to come out because of the shame -and that was my concern. I thought: 'I can't come out. What would people think of me?' I'd be weak.

"I thought I was fine and that I could overcome it."

Like a number of other sportsmen who have encountered personal problems Windass turned to the Sporting Chance Clinic and he has encouraged other people in his position to not be afraid of seeking help.

"I had the courage to come out about my problems and I had the opportunity through Clarke Carlisle [chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association] to go to the Sporting Chance Clinic.

"I spoke to Clarke because he'd been in a similar position and he just told me to get in touch with the team there.

"It doesn't matter who you are or what you've done in life - if you've got a problem or you know somebody who has, then please contact someone.

Windass revealed he had struggled with private issues throughout his life before things came to a head at the start of this year.

His struggles led to the end of his marriage and ultimately a failed attempt to take his own life.

It was after this that he sought help and he was candid in how the treatment affected him.

"It was very emotional, very painful," he said. "It can be quite embarrassing.

"I've always been an emotional person so that side of things didn't bother me, but sharing my problems with strangers I did find hard.

"People look at you and think that you're just that person on the pitch but when you're in your own environment, behind closed doors it's a different thing."

Former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore and cricketers Andrew Flintoff and Marcus Trescothick are amongst the sportsmen who have publicised their struggles with depression in recent years.

Windass says he tried to use alcohol to get through his illness.

"I turned to drink and that was wrong of me but I couldn't see that. I thought it would get rid of my problems but it didn't, it just made things worse.

"To me alcohol was my get-out clause and that was wrong but I needed someone else to tell me that at the time because I couldn't see that.

"I blamed other people for everything and in the end you just go down and down until you hit rock bottom.

"I'm fortunate that I've come out the other side of it."

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