Richarlison on battling depression: I wanted to give up

"I think the therapist, like it or not, saved me, saved my life"

by Sead Dedovic
Richarlison on battling depression: I wanted to give up
© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Sport

Tottenham and Brazil striker Richarlison has decided to speak out about his battle with depression after the 2022 World Cup. This talented Brazilian footballer also left Everton that summer and joined Tottenham, ready for a new chapter in his career. In an interview with ESPN Brazil, he reflected on the period when he played in the World Cup, where he performed brilliantly, scoring three goals in the group stage. Richarlison couldn't understand what was happening to him; he felt depressed. Richarlison considers himself mentally strong, but encountering such obstacles made him realize how important mental health can be.

“I’d just played in a World Cup, man, at my peak. I was reaching my limit, you know? I don’t know, I’m not going to talk about killing myself, but I was in a depression there, and I wanted to give up.

Even I, who seemed to be mentally strong. After the World Cup it seemed like it all fell apart.

I think the therapist, like it or not, saved me, saved my life. I only thought rubbish. Even on Google, I only searched for rubbish, I only wanted to see rubbish about death."- Richarlison said, as quoted by Independent!

Richarlison had huge problems day by day, and he was losing his love for everything, including football. He also decided to tell his father about his mental struggles. For many, the hardest thing is to turn to family when they have certain problems, although the case should be quite different. Family should be our support and someone we can always rely on. Richarlison probably realized this at one point.

“Before I went to training, I wanted to go home, I wanted to go back to my room because, I don’t know what was going through my head. I even went and told my dad I was going to give up.

It’s kind of sad to talk like that, you know? What I went through after the World Cup, discovering things here at home from people who had lived with me for over seven years. It is crazy."- he continued.

The brilliant forward has always had a good relationship with his father, but he had a tough time revealing to him that he was struggling with depression.

“To go to my father, who was the guy who chased my dream with me, and say, ‘Dad, I want to give up,’ is crazy.”

Richarlison believes that therapy is important: He recommended it to everyone

Richarlison discussed how he used to dismiss the idea of therapy, considering it irrelevant and associating it with being labeled as "crazy." However, he has since recognized the value of seeking professional help, emphasizing the importance of opening up and discussing mental health struggles. Richarlison may inspire others by his example to embark on the same path and open up about their mental health struggles. In today's world, it's becoming increasingly common for public figures to encourage others through their own experiences to seek therapy and help themselves.

Richarlison© Alex Pantling/Getty Images Sport

He shared his realization that accessing therapy can be extremely beneficial, stressing that it was one of the most powerful discoveries he has made in his life. Additionally, he mentioned receiving positive feedback for speaking openly about mental health, indicating that his actions have helped raise awareness and destigmatize seeking help within the football community and beyond.

It must be acknowledged that footballers in today's modern age are under tremendous pressure, as fans, coaches, and others have high expectations of them. Dealing with this pressure is difficult for many, so many athletes feel the consequences after some time.

Upon arriving at Tottenham, Richarlison faced tremendous pressure and expectations. After some poor performances, fans reacted furiously and often spoke insultingly about the Brazilian striker. Richarlison probably observed everything, feeling helpless to change others' opinions.

However, therapy was the best move he could make. Perhaps this will also be a message to fans to have lower expectations of footballers from their club and to understand that athletes are people just like everyone else.

Other athletes who spoke about mental health issues

Richarlison isn't the only example of a footballer who has decided to openly speak about mental health struggles. Many before him have taken the same path and tried to break the stigma surrounding mental health.

One such example is Jesse Lingard, who has influenced many with his example. Alongside him are also Micah Richards and Paul Pogba.

Jesse Lingard
Jesse Lingard© Ryan Pierse / Getty Images Sport

Hopefully, Richarlison's confession and messages will influence both the young and the older generation to seek therapy if they have mental health issues.