Tennessee quarterback Brian Maurer, hoping to bring awareness to the importance of mental health, on Friday detailed in an Instagram post that he was planning to kill himself on Jan. 22 before receiving a phone call from his mother that day.
"I thought I lost my battle with depression and my pain had come to an end," Maurer wrote on Instagram about the events of Jan. 22. "As I was going to do it I looked up and said 'god if this isn't your plan for me please send me a sign.'
"2 minutes later my mom called me with my baby nephew Jeremiah and she said she was just calling to say she loved me, I then knew by ending my pain I would be causing so much more to the people who loved me."
View this post on Instagram
In honor of may being mental health month I'm encouraging everyone to seek help but also to speak up and to share their stories, here's my story since the 7th grade i have struggled with anxiety and depression this battle has been long and hard it has been an everyday battle , In the 7th grade my father was sentenced to 25 years in prison, around the same time my mom and stepdad split up causing me to have to grow up early In the 9th grade me and my mom decided it would be best if i moved in with my grandmother while she moved for a little bit causing even more depression as i was no longer with my mom and my younger sister Junior year of highschool one of my best friends committed suicide and i had never felt so low in my entire life one as of the strongest people i have ever know lost his battle . Dewayne ALWAYS had a smile on his face and was always telling me i was gonna be something great. At this point i knew i was in trouble but i still refused hell from anyone Senior year of highschool I lost 2 friends to gun violence i slipped even deeper into a black hole and I turned to everything else but seeking help I was embarrassed to be like this , I always thought that as a guy i had to have tough skin and not to let anything bother me I thought i needed to stay strong for my family and that they couldn't see me down and that I was their shoulder to cry on. I always thought i needed to be the shoulder for people to cry on when deep down i was screaming for help On Wednesday January 22 , 2020 i planned to take my own life , i though i lost my battle with depression and that my pain had come to an end as i was going to do it i looked up and i said "god if this isn't your plan for me please send me a sign" 2 minutes later my mom called me with my baby nephew Jeremiah and she said she was just calling to say she loved me , i then knew that by ending my pain i would be causing so much more to the people who loved me. Please reach out to receive help, mental health is a very serious matter and there is hope for you ! I along with everyone around you stand with you, you have the strength to deal with this. Please keep fighting you got this . #longlivewayne💙
Maurer said he has struggled with depression and anxiety since the seventh grade, when his father was sentenced to 25 years in prison and his mother and stepfather separated. He moved in with his grandmother when he was in the ninth grade and said one of his best friends killed himself when he was a junior in high school and that he lost two other friends to gun violence as a senior.
"I slipped even deeper into a black hole and I turned to everything else but seeking help," Maurer wrote in the post.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Maurer told ESPN on Friday that he decided to share his struggles to help others living with depression.
"My goal was not to bring attention to myself, but to bring attention to mental health," Maurer told ESPN. "It's something a lot of people struggle with. And not only younger people, but all people. They battle it every day and keep it a secret. My thinking was that if a college athlete can come out and speak about how seeking help is the most important thing you can do, then maybe all those people out there struggling will reach out to somebody and know that there is always hope."
Maurer, who lives in Ocala, Florida, was on his way back to Tennessee on Friday and said he plans to seek treatment immediately. He's spoken to several teammates and coaches, including quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke, after they read his Instagram post.
"I didn't tell anybody about what I was going through, because you're embarrassed," Maurer told ESPN. "But everybody at the University of Tennessee has been great, and Coach Weinke has been my rock. I'm excited to better myself. And most of all, to let others know who are going through the same thing that they're not alone."
Maurer played in eight games last season for the Vols as a true freshman and made four starts. He suffered concussions against Mississippi State and Alabama.
"Even when I was hurt, I was trying to put a happy face on everything, stay up and not bring any negative energy to the team. And that was one of the lowest times for me," Maurer told ESPN. "I know I'm going to get through this and that there are so many people at the University of Tennessee who are there for me and are going to help me.
"I still have some rocky days, but I know I'm going to get the help I need and hope others will join me."