BEREA, Ohio — This week is National Suicide Prevention Week — a week centered around an issue Browns tackle Chris Hubbard fights to bring awareness to. Hubbard said this week is very important to him because he has struggled with his own mental health in the past.
“This past year I’ve dealt with mental health as far as transitioning and taking on a lot of responsibilities,” Hubbard said. “You know it kind of hit me hard to where I had to take a step back and also deal with my health first before dealing with anything else.”
After coming to Cleveland from the Steelers in 2018 and having to adjust to a new life, Hubbard battled with depression. When Hubbard signed a new five-year, $36.5 million contract, it proved the saying “money can’t buy happiness.”
“Last year, before the season even started, I got with a counselor to help me out, and I was talking to her every week whenever I was going through things as far as anxiety. I lost a lot of weight,” Hubbard said. “Just getting back on track with my whole mind and getting that back to the right stability. She did a great job helping me out with different techniques to help me out through the days and when I was going through things.”
Because the issue hits so close to home, Hubbard has used his personal experience and his platform in the NFL to help bring mental health awareness to light.
Hubbard participated in the National Alliance on Mental Illness Walk, supported the organization's message and goal and hosted his own event in his hometown of Columbus, Georgia, called Cars and Coffee.
“I had the event back home, the Cars and Coffee event, to spread the awareness of mental health. That was a great turnout, that was one of my first events ever,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard is also focused on bringing that awareness here to Cleveland.
“I also did a quick event here in Downtown Cleveland. I went to the mental health house down here and just talked to some of the people there and just let them know they’re not alone,” he said.
Events and programs like the ones he participates in are something Hubbard said is very important to him because he believes that unity can not only bring awareness to mental health but also inspire those dealing with things too heavy for one person to seek help.
“It means a lot, not just for me but for the other people that deal with it as well,” Hubbard said. “Coming out and getting together and letting them know that they’re not alone and just spreading that awareness to get help to seek help when it’s time and join together.
It might be hard to reach out and ask for help, but no one has to go through their hardships alone—a message Hubbard fights hard to get out.
“I just want to say to anybody out there—know that you’re not alone and you’re able to take care of yourself and get help and seek help,” Hubbard said. “You might have your down days and those days might be tough, but just know that you can get through it and you're able to fight the good fight and it’s gonna be okay. I’m with you and everybody else is with you.”
For more information on suicide prevention and mental health awareness, visit these helpful links:
There are also some digital resources that may be beneficial to someone who is struggling:
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-723-8255
You can also text: 4HOPE to 741741
RELATED: This week is National Suicide Prevention Week - hear stories from survivors, family, advocates
Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.