Welsh club Pontypool RFC have confirmed that Ben Jeffreys has taken a temporary leave of absence as the club’s chief executive officer to receive inpatient hospital treatment for depression.
In a statement, the club said: “Ben has been admitted to Priory Hospital Bristol and will give his full focus to addressing these mental health challenges in the coming weeks.
“Everybody at Pontypool RFC stands behind Ben as he takes this positive step and we look forward to welcoming him back to Pontypool Park as soon as he feels he is ready to return to the club.
“Please remember that #ItsOkayNotToBeOkay and if you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, mental health helplines and support groups can offer expert advice.”
In a walesonline.co.uk interview last October for World Mental Health Day, Jeffreys spoke about how an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) drove him to the brink of suicide and how working at Pontypool RFC saved his life in 2013 following a serious illness to his wife and his dad suffering a stroke shortly after paying off all outstanding debts and taking full control of the rugby club.
We fully support Ben's decision to ask for help.
— Pontypool RFC (@PontypoolRFC) March 6, 2020
“I was suicidal but was not able to pull the trigger,” he admitted about a period in his life where he collapsed with exhaustion. “I would cross roads not looking, hoping a bus or car was coming and the driver would end it all.
“But my condition, coupled with the fear of losing the two people closest to me, meant I was about to hit absolute rock bottom. After volunteering for several months to get the club back up and running, I was appointed chief executive officer.
You can sound confident and have anxiety.
You can look healthy but feel like shit.
You can look happy and be miserable inside.
You can be good looking and feel ugly.
So be kind, because every person is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” https://t.co/zmEO5RyhLU
— Ben Jeffreys (@BenJeffreys) February 15, 2020
“I felt totally undeserving of the role at the time, particularly when I was still coming to terms with my father’s ill health, as well as battling with my own mental health.
“Nonetheless, I believe it came at the right time. I needed a sense of purpose and an opportunity to grow as a person. In short, Pontypool RFC saved my life.”
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