Danny Cipriani has opened up about how he contemplated suicide in his early 20s amidst a battle with “severe depression”.
The now 32-year-old England and Gloucester player spoke at length about his mental health problems in an emotional video following the suicide of his former girlfriend Caroline Flack.
Cipriani said he was sharing his most embarrassing and shameful moments in the hope he can encourage others to be kinder and show their vulnerable side – and also ensure that Flack’s life will not go in vain.
Via his official social media accounts, he said: When I was 22, I was going through severe depression and I was seeing a psychiatrist … (On a) Saturday night at nine o’clock, I got a phone call from an agent saying that The Sun was going to print a story about you trying to buy a gun.
So I met a guy who was at this nightclub … and he ended up being in and around whatever. And I knew he was a bad man … And I decided at a point it was time for me to take my own life, and I tried to buy a gun from him.
I pulled out of it, and I tried to buy it, and I pulled out of it, and this went on for like two months, and I couldn’t do it because I had some fight in me.
So then he sold all the messages to The Sun, and The Sun knew everything, and they phoned my agent and they told what was happening, and my psychiatrist had to get involved … And they weren’t legally allowed to print it. But that was the start.
That was something that I went through and I have had to carry that. She (Caroline) knew everything about me. And the reason why I am saying this is because embarrassment and shame is not something that should make you do this. It’s how we treat people and look after everyone because everyone has embarrassment and shame to some sort of degree.
Whatever it is, we be kind. We try and be gentle. We don’t need maliciousness. We don’t need people going through your bins, we don’t need people sitting outside trying to gather information. But, at the end of the day, we’ve created what the media is.
Until we make a change as human beings, as social media, which we now have the opportunity to do on social media, we can be kind, we can do things and change perception.
So what I’m trying to say is we can’t just blame the media. We can’t blame ourselves, it’s just what has been created. But we can now change what is happening. We can move forward.
Her life will not go in vain, and this is why I have to tell this story.
Gloucester supporting Cipriani
Cipriani’s club Gloucester are planning on using their next home match against Sale Sharks on February 28 to help promote mental health awareness, by donating £5 from every ticket sold to the local Samaritans.
Chief executive Lance Bradley told Sky Sports News: It’s incredibly brave to open yourself up like this, in the way that he has, but It’s something he feels very strongly about.
After the awful events of last weekend, it’s really brought mental health issues to the forefront and Danny has been very keen to speak out about it. He’s okay. He’s grieving for the loss of a very close friend, if you can imagine how that feels.
As a club we are doing everything we can to put an arm round him, and when he came in on Monday we made sure we did that, physically and metaphorically.
Cipriani receives support from RPA
A Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) spokesman told Sky Sports News…
Our priority is to ensure that Danny is OK and that he knows that he has the support of the Rugby Players Association, alongside that of Gloucester Rugby and his team-mates.
Our official charity, Restart, funds a 24/7 confidential counselling service available to all of our current and retired members, and we have our team of RPA Development Managers on the ground supporting players in their clubs on a daily basis.
Danny’s honesty on speaking so publicly about issues that he has faced has been incredibly brave. In 2017 we launched the RPA ‘Lift the Weight’ campaign, which raised greater awareness of mental health issues within rugby and it encouraged our members to talk about growing mental health issues in the game and society.
In light of Danny’s video, we hope that rugby players and rugby fans are inspired to talk openly, think of others and seek out support.
:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email [email protected] in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK.