Breaking the Stigma: The Hayden Hurst story

“The story of what Hayden Hurst did with his second chance may just save the life of someone close to you.” – Atlanta Falcons Twitter account

Before Hurst played for the Atlanta Falcons, he struggled with depression. He was drinking heavily, using cocaine and blacking out to “numb the pain.”

“You feel like nobody is there despite my family being so close,” Hurst said in the Twitter Media Studio video released by the Falcons. Hurst said he felt nobody cared.

Breaking the Stigma: The Hayden Hurst story
Part one (9:13)
Part two (3:42)

His tearful account talks about the night he decided he wanted his life to be over.

“The best and the worst thing that ever happened in my life … I made a promise to myself that I’m not going to do this again ,” he said. “God looked down on me and gave me a second chance at this thing … I’m going to make the most of this opportunity.”

He hasn’t had a drink since that night.

Hurst has since recruited his parents to lead the Hayden Hurst Family Foundation focused on young people – to learn the tools for handling anxiety and suicide prevention and to help end the stigma surrounding mental health.

“Keep fighting. Keep going. As dark as it gets, I promise you there is someone out there who cares and loves you and wants you to succeed at whatever you do … I promise you there is someone out there in your life … that will help you get out of that situation,” Hurst said in the video.

For more information on the foundation, visit

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or visit