Aaron Hernandez

Hot, sexy and crazy? Is Aaron Hernandez going crazy behind bars? Well, the former New England Patriot may never play football again because his mental health challenges and substance use has landed him in big trouble. Hernandez became a member of the elite NFL fraternity when he signed a 5-year, $40 million dollar contract with the Patriots. With fame, fortune and opportunity, how does a talented young athlete become a murder suspect? Well, Hernandez has blamed his behavioral and mental health challenges on the loss of his father. Whether his father’s death was the reason for his hot temper or series of negative events in his life, one thing is clear and that is Hernandez needs help.

Hernandez was arrested for the murder of Odin Lloyd, who was also considered a friend. After the arrest, a series of unsolved murders came to the attention of authorities and suggested Hernandez may have even been involved with them. And while Hernandez sits in prison awaiting his trial, he released letters that are most disturbing saying,

“I’m on the block here lovin’ it. I got my own cell too... I’m out all day only lock in 4 hours a day… So we be ballin’. You know, my realest ‘G’ I ever effed with, I'm still effin with - Harry Potter!”

Ok, so, Hernandez appears to have “reframed” his arrest beautifully by learning how to “ball” in prison. It’s clear that he has adapted to his environment, but it still does not explain how a young emerging football star could throw his future away during the prime of his career. What went wrong?

A series of violent acts and events have followed Hernandez for many years. Some believed the Patriots took a chance by committing to a player with a tumultuous and violent history. And like Hernandez, there are many people that struggle with depression as a result of the loss of a parent, substance abuse and mental health challenges; and here are a few ways to help your loved one:

Symptoms of depression

·      Loss of interest in things: work, school, activities, sex, hobbies

·      Unusually sad, moody and irritable

·      Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness

·      Somatic symptoms: headaches, stomach aches, etc

·      Fatigued and increased or decreased sleep

·      Isolates from family and friends

·      Emotional eating; weight gain or loss

·      Increased substance use or abuse

What to do:

·      Be aware of the symptoms

·      Research treatment options and gather resources

·      Extend support to your loved one

·      Do not judge or become critical

·      Ask questions without condemnation

·      Hospitalize if loved one is suicidal

Depression may be triggered by a number of different causes and only a mental health professional can clinically diagnose the symptoms. If you or a love one are facing the challenges of depression, grief, or substance abuse please contact a counseling professional today.

Sincerely Be-You-Tiful,

Jada Jackson, M.S., M.A., LMHC, NCC

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Talk Show Host of Emotional Mojo

Author of Be-You-Tiful: The Threefold Process to Becoming You

Blogger and Author of Jada Jackson: My Story, My Life