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NFL player Everson Griffen opens up about mental health: 'It's true I am bipolar'

After an alarming incident in late November, the Minnesota Vikings defensive end is opening up about his mental health.
Everson Griffen
The Minnesota Vikings player shared on Instagram Friday that he has bipolar disorder.Elsa / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Everson Griffen, the NFL player who barricaded himself in his home for several hours last month is opening up about his mental health on Instagram.

On Nov. 24, Griffen, who plays for the Minnesota Vikings, called 911 to report an intruder in his Minnesota home at around 3 a.m., according to NBC News. Griffen said that he had discharged a weapon but that no one was injured. After several hours of communication, including with team psychologists, Griffen emerged from his home around 1:30 p.m. and was transported to a health care facility. Officials said no one else was present in the home.

On Instagram Friday, Griffen thanked fans and followers for their "love and support" following the incident and said that he had been struggling with his mental health for a long time. He also revealed that he has bipolar disorder.

"It's true I am bipolar," wrote Griffen, alongside a photo that showed him surrounded by a group of people. "I will embrace it and I will be an advocate for mental health. I been running from it a long time. I'm not ashamed of it anymore."

Griffen said that his struggles "all started when" his mother died. According to NBC Sports, his mother passed away suddenly while visiting Griffen in 2012. Griffen said he "went into a dark place" following her death.

"Thought I was great for many years," Griffen continued. "I promise this time I will do everything the experts say and my wife. I love my family and I miss my friends."

Griffen, who is a defensive end for the Vikings, has been married to Tiffany Brandt since 2014. The couple share three children.

In addition to the November incident, Griffen missed several games with the Vikings in 2018 following a string of erratic behavior, including showing up shirtless at a teammate's home and making comments about people attempting to harm him.

The NFL has made an effort to implement more mental health resources for players. In 2019, the league set a mandate that ensures each team has at least one therapist or psychologist on staff, and earlier this year, the league launched a video series that highlighted resources available for both players and fans. The Pro Football Hall of Fame also provides a behavioral health program for players and their families.

Griffen isn't the only Vikings player advocating for mental health. His teammate Adam Theilen operates a foundation that shines a light on youth mental health. Theilen told TODAY's Carson Daly in June 2021 that it's important for teammates to be able to lean on each other for support.

"I can't explain how important it is to just say 'Hey, I have some things going on and I need your help,'" Thielen said at the time. "We're here to help them now."