The wife of former AFL star Danny Frawley has revealed her husband had removed himself from treatment and medication for his depression in the months leading up to his sudden death.
Frawley, a former St Kilda captain, Richmond coach and media personality, died in a single-car crash near Ballarat last week, a day after celebrating his 56th birthday.
His death sparked an outpouring of grief from across the football community, with his colleagues remembering his relentless sense of humour and “nose for mischief”.
In a statement released via the AFL, Anita Frawley said her husband would have wanted her to “be open with the public of the events leading up to this heartbreak”.
Ms Frawley said her husband, who had lived with depression for several years, had felt “invincible” about eight months ago when he decided to stop taking his prescribed medication.
She said while the circumstances of the single-car crashed that killed Frawley would remain uncertain until police investigations were complete, “it was true that Danny’s mental health had deteriorated in recent weeks”.
“The reason I am making this public is that I want this to be a reminder to all those grappling with mental health conditions and to those whom have made progress with their wellbeing that you should always seek help from professionals when considering making decisions surrounding your mental health, even when you feel as though you have fully recovered,” she said.
“On Monday, the love of my life was tragically taken from my girls and I.
“Many have speculated on the cause and lead up to this tragedy. Danny, as a champion of mental health would want me to continue his legacy and be open with the public of the events leading up to this heartbreak.
“While the circumstances of the event are unconfirmed and will remain uncertain until the investigations are complete, it was true that Danny’s mental health had deteriorated in recent weeks.
“As is widely known, Danny had experienced and lived with depression dating back a number of years. But to his credit, he had put up his hand and accepted psychiatric treatment, counselling and medication. He recovered and returned to being the Danny of old.
“The road leading up to last Monday’s events began eight months ago when Danny made the decision to take himself off his prescribed medication.
“At this point Danny felt invincible, like the true competitor and proud man that he was; he felt that he had beaten the disease.
“In fact, he felt bullet proof, which contributed to his decision to remove himself from his support network including his psychiatric care and not continuing to work with his team of mental health professionals.
“The reason I am making this public is that I want this to be a reminder to all those grappling with mental health conditions and to those whom have made progress with their wellbeing that you should always seek help from professionals when considering making decisions surrounding your mental health, even when you feel as though you have fully recovered.
“Our final memory of Danny is one we will cherish forever, a night spent sitting around our family table, playing board games and laughing on his 56th birthday. He will never be forgotten and will forever be in our hearts.
“I would like to leave everyone with this quote from Danny, “manning up in the past was to suffer in silence, manning up now is to put your hand up.”
“We invite all those who would like to farewell our remarkable man to join us at RSEA Park – St Kilda Football Club, 32/60 Linton Street, Moorabbin, Victoria, at 3pm on Wednesday the 18th of September.
“To show your condolences, we ask that you please donate to beyondblue in honour of Danny.
“Danny, you were the love of my life and will continue to be until our paths cross again.
“Since Monday, there has been a gaping hole in our family which will never be repaired.
“The girls and I are finding it difficult to accept you are gone and our lives as we knew them will never be the same.
“We miss you. We will always miss you. Anita xx