Swimming: Hackett to head abroad to treat mental health issues

Grant Hackett thanked his parents for helping him get through the toughest week of his life.
Grant Hackett thanked his parents for helping him get through the toughest week of his life.

SYDNEY • Australian Olympic swimming great Grant Hackett has said that he will seek treatment overseas for mental health problems, after what he called "the toughest week of my life".

The 36-year-old, who went into hiding after his brief arrest last week following a family bust-up, released a statement thanking "mum and dad for helping me through the toughest week of my life".

"They have been amazing and have now stood by me through thick and thin - I can't say enough about them - I could not wish for better parents," he said in the statement released late on Tuesday.

"I know I have some mental health issues and I am seeking help here in Australia and I will be also going overseas."

Hackett's father Neville had reported the former 1,500m freestyle world-record holder missing, sparking fears for his safety.

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Also the support I have received from so many people in Australia and around the world has been incredible.

'' GRANT HACKETT, two-time Olympic gold medallist and four-time world champion in the 1,500m freestyle, thanking fans for their wishes in the wake of his recent breakdown.

The retired swimmer posted a picture on social media showing himself with a black eye, and accused his brother Craig of beating him up.

But Hackett said in the statement that he had resolved those differences. "My brother and I have reconnected and love each other very much - our family has always been our priority," he said.

Police released the double Olympic 1,500m gold medallist last Wednesday without charge, just hours after his family had him arrested following a bout of heavy drinking which led to "uncontrollable rage".

In 2014, Hackett checked into a rehabilitation clinic in the United States to treat an addiction to sleeping pills.

"Also the support I have received from so many people in Australia and around the world has been incredible," he added.

"I wish I could reply to every single message or well wish I've had, as I'm so grateful for each and every one of them.

"This is a very private matter that I am going through and I am going to work my way through it. I would appreciate it if everyone would allow me and my family to do everything we need to do.

"I will not be talking to media during this time but I urge everyone to please give my family and myself the privacy and respect we need at this delicate time."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2017, with the headline 'Hackett to head abroad to treat mental health issues'. Print Edition | Subscribe