'Long road ahead': Hackett opens up about mental battle, thanks public for support

Troubled Olympic champion Grant Hackett says he is committed to turning his life around after the “toughest week” of his life which saw him arrested and later reported missing by his family.

The retired swim star was arrested last Wednesday, and then reported missing by his family on Thursday after a bizarre disturbance at his parents' Gold Coast home.

At the time, Grant’s father Nev described the 36-year-old as “depressed” and “mentally disturbed”, and said he just wanted his son to seek help.

Grant Hackett was arrested last Wednesday. Picture: 7 News
Grant Hackett was arrested last Wednesday. Picture: 7 News

"It's obviously been a really trying, challenging period," Hackett said on Wednesday.

"The nicest thing that I've had is all the support around me, particularly my family - they've been amazing.

"Also the Australian public. A lot of people tend to understand these sorts of mental issues... this is something I didn't want to go through or deal with."

Hackett spoke publicly on Wednesday. Picture: 7 News
Hackett spoke publicly on Wednesday. Picture: 7 News

Hackett said he was now determined to beat the mental demons that have plagued him since he retired from swimming.

"It's something I need to remedy and remedy permanently," he said outside his parents' home.

"It's going to be a long road ahead, and a challenging road ahead and I just thank everyone for their support."

The interview comes less than 24 hours after Hackett issued his first public statement, thanking his family for their help during his apparent breakdown.

"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 Tuesday's statement.

Hackett also confirmed he had “reconnected” with his brother, Craig.

Grant Hackett leaving a Gold Coast police station last Wednesday. Picture: 7 News
Grant Hackett leaving a Gold Coast police station last Wednesday. Picture: 7 News

Just last week Hackett claimed his brother assaulted him in a scathing social media rant.

Craig had described the 36-year-old as a “danger to himself and the community” hours after the arrest at the family home.

But that dispute has been put to bed, according to the Olympian.

The retired swimmer confirmed he was seeking help for his mental health issues, and planned to head overseas for further treatment.

Retired Olympian Grant Hackett. Picture: AAP
Retired Olympian Grant Hackett. Picture: AAP

"This is a very private matter that I am going through and I am going to work my way through it,” Hackett said.

“I would appreciate it if everyone would allow me and my family to do everything we need to do.

“I wish I could reply to every single message or well wish I've had, which is impossible at present, as I'm so grateful for each and every one of them.”

Grant Hackett shot to fame as an Australian champion. Picture: 7 News
Grant Hackett shot to fame as an Australian champion. Picture: 7 News

It remains unclear exactly what sparked Hackett’s outburst last Wednesday, with friends blaming his relationship breakdown as the trigger.

Hackett retired after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, having won the 1500m freestyle at both the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Games.

But after retirement he ran into problems, this included a divorce and allegations he smashed up his Melbourne home in 2011.

If you are concerned about the mental health of yourself or a loved one, seek support and information by calling Lifeline 13 11 14, Mensline 1300 789 978, or Kids Helpline 1800 551 800

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