I'm Listening: Falcons' Hayden Hurst Recounts Isolation and Pain During College

An NFL star's long journey from addiction and fear, to sobriety and hope

You are not alone. Millions of Americans who struggle with mental illness benefit from an empathetic ear. RADIO.COM hopes to be that receiver on September 23 for Im Listening, a two hour special broadcast starting the conversation about mental health.

Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst experienced low moments, living with depression, leading to an attempt on his life four years ago. “I was 18-years-old, on my own, and I had never really experienced failure,” he told RADIO.COM. “So, I didn’t fully understand what was happening to me.”

Hurst’s mental health crisis spiraled further the more he isolated from communication. “I was pretty depressed for a while, just locking myself in my dorm room, wouldn’t want to be around people.”

“I just didn’t want to have to explain that embarrassment of what was going on, because I didn’t fully understand it.”

During this depression, the tight end favored unhealthy coping that created further distance from the ones he loved. “I dealt with that for three years drinking which unfortunately lead to some bad decisions.”

Hayen’s college years reflected a journey of pain, then acceptance. It was through sobriety he understood his mental health condition. “But I’m better for it now. Four and a half years without a drink,” he said. “I’ve totally left that lifestyle behind me.”

I’m Listening will feature stories similar to Hayden’s, filled with resilience and acceptance. The special two hour special broadcast will highlight shared mental health experiences while also acting as a resource for those simply looking to connect, heal, and share. Throughout the show, listeners can call in for advice or a moment to share a story. The I’m Listening broadcast is a safe space.

Leading up to the broadcast, we're sharing moments from past I'm Listening shows here and at ImListening.org, as well as highlights from this year's lineup, including Luke Combs, Katy Perry, Cage The Elephant, and more opening up about mental health.

Join us for I'm Listening, on all RADIO.COM stations and on the RADIO.COM app.

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