More than three years ago, Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Solomon Thomas reached a watershed moment.
Thomas’ older sister Ella struggled with depression. Despite the family recognizing the warning signs and doing all they could, Ella died by suicide at just 24 years old.
Ella’s death brought Thomas to a “dark place,” Thomas said. He went through his own battle with depression, anxiety and grief.
“I suffered in silence and I kept pushing down my emotions until I got to a place where I didn’t want to be here anymore,” Thomas said. “I was just so numb to everything.”
At the time, Thomas played for the San Francisco 49ers. One day, Thomas said, general manager John Lynch reached out to him. Lynch offered Thomas support if he wanted it.
Thomas said it hit him that he really did need help. He started going to therapy. He began using healthy coping techniques like journaling and meditating.
“I learned how to process my emotions and honor them in a healthy way,” Thomas said. “Learning how to view the world in a different way truly saved my life and made me who I am today.”