What Tennessee Titans' Mike Vrabel said about A.J. Brown revealing battle with depression

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Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel lauded star receiver A.J. Brown’s courage to reveal his battles with depression.

“Obviously, the conversations I have with a player, I’ll keep between us,” Vrabel said Monday. “But I do appreciate his courage and willingness to share that message. The mental health of our staff — everybody in this building — is something I focus on very regularly. That’s a huge part of our business and what we do.”

In a since-deleted video posted to his Instagram account Friday night, Brown revealed he considered taking his life a year ago. The Pro Bowl receiver urged people to “protect your mental” and do things that make you happy in the minute-long clip. He said he didn’t know depression was real until it happened to him.

Since posting the video, Brown hasn’t spoken to the media.

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Vrabel believes the Titans have been able to provide a safe space for players and staff members battling mental health issues. Even if the individual doesn’t come to him personally or to general manager Jon Robinson, Vrabel is confident there’s someone in the organization “that is willing to listen, that wants nothing but the best” for the individual.

Vrabel said he has relayed to the team the importance of not just asking somebody how they’re doing, but also being willing to sit and listen to them.

“Don’t make it a fly by,” Vrabel said of what he stresses to the team.

He also shared with the team the story about Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman, whose family took in a boy, Demitri, who became like a brother to Hartman. Demitri died by suicide in 2015, when Hartman was in high school.

Hartman wrote in an article to Athletes for God that he’d never seen Demitri in down spirits.

“Those are real things,” Vrabel said of mental health issues. “Those are real things that we all deal with. Having kids that are going to start going off away from college and moving on and having their own life, these are real things we all deal with and it’s great when people, especially significant football players or athletes, are willing to address it and willing to make statements about it.

“Hopefully his message can help somebody else feel comfortable to seek help, to get things off their chest, to be able to talk through things,” Vrabel said of Brown. “And I think that’s a great example.”

If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night, or chat online.

Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they dial 741741.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has resources to help if you need to find support for yourself or a loved one.

Ben Arthur covers the Tennessee Titans for The USA TODAY Network. Contact him at barthur@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter at @benyarthur.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: What Tennessee Titans' Mike Vrabel said about A.J. Brown revealing battle with depression

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