Former race ace James Toseland lifts the lid on suicidal thoughts

Another Sheffield world-title sportsman has revealed how he has wrestled with suicidal thoughts over the years.
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Two-time Superbike champion James Toseland says previous, negative experiences - his stepfather took his own life and his own glittering career ended prematurely because of a severe injury - mean he has regarded suicide as "an option."

His remarks came after boxing's former world title contender Herol Bomber Graham talked to The Star about his inner turmoil that once led him to cut his wrist.

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Toseland, aged 43, is now a TV pundit and commentator on the motorcycle circuit and is financially secure for life.

James ToselandJames Toseland
James Toseland

But when a podcast interviewer referred to his handsome looks and millions of pounds in the bank, the South Yorkshire-based man replied: "I nearly let it all go.

"After the fourth or fifth operation to my wrist, I was sat on the bed and I'd had enough. And I mean had enough.

"Those things that you have just rattled off mean nothing in tough times.

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"Suicide is what we are talking about," he said, explaining he was exposed to that tragic outcome as a vulnerable teenager when his mum's second husband Ken Wright killed himself.

James Toseland Pic Steve EllisJames Toseland Pic Steve Ellis
James Toseland Pic Steve Ellis

"That is a struggle that I think I will have for life.

"When times are tough I will always go to that - is it a better option at this point in time?"

Referring to his multiple wrist operations and complications through pain and medication, he said: "I certainly thought a lot about that, for sure.

"On the flip side of it, I am a victim of it, and never could I do that to the people I would leave behind. Because I was left behind."

Ex Superbike Champion James Toseland on a charity driveEx Superbike Champion James Toseland on a charity drive
Ex Superbike Champion James Toseland on a charity drive
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Suicide is one of the UK's highest killers especially of middle-aged men, said the former track ace, who is a keen supporter of Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

He said men carried around a "feeling of shame about not wanting to burden people"

"It is an illness and when you are mentally ill you shut down and you want to end the suffering."

However, it was important that people in that position should seek help and support.

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Then they can get to the point where they could one day look back and wonder how they ever contemplated it, he pointed out.

Toseland, a former Wales High School pupil who used to live in Kiveton Park, also lost his grandfather six months after Mr Wright's suicide.

Those experiences "lit a bonfire" under him and he used his feelings to become a ruthlessly efficient racer.

The Doncaster-born sportsman retired from racing in September 2011, following the wrist injury suffered at Aragon in Spain.

Help for people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts can be obtained here.