Collingwood star Dayne Beams has described himself as a "broken man" in a heartfelt social media post made soon after the club announced he is taking indefinite leave to concentrate on his mental health.
In a media statement released on Wednesday, Beams said he will not return until he has dealt with his mental health issues, but is confident he can again dedicate himself to the sport.
The 29-year-old stepped down as captain of the Brisbane Lions last year as he struggled to come to terms with the death of his father in March.
"I have been on the record in the past about the battles I have fought," Beams said.
"Right now, I need to step away and regather myself.
"I hope people will understand that this is something I need to do for myself and, importantly, my family.
"Our wellbeing is the highest priority."
He followed the club statement with a post from his Instagram account pleading with anyone suffering from depression to talk to someone about the issue.
"I am a broken man at the moment and this is very, very real for myself and the people that I love," Beams wrote.
"I am not posting this for people to feel sorry for me or to speculate about my life.
"I am posting this because this is an issue that I will continue to shine a light on because it is real and it can be so debilitating if it's not treated.
"So I plead with anyone out there doing it tough just to tell someone because in doing that you are already taking the first step towards recovery and living a happier and loving life."
He finished the post by thanking his family and asking his followers to start having conversations and helping each other.
Beams has previously called attention to horrendous trolling he has been subjected to on social media.
Mental health is an ongoing player welfare issue for the AFL.
Western Bulldogs star Tom Boyd retired in May citing the mental toll of the game, while others like Lance Franklin, Alex Fasolo, Lin Jong, Jesse Hogan and Matthew Broadbent have taken leave to concentrate on their mental wellbeing.
Beams, the Pies' second-round pick in 2008, was traded to the Lions after the 2014 season to be closer to his dad as he battled cancer.
He returned to Collingwood via the October trade period, but was troubled by a hip problem in nine senior appearances.
He underwent surgery after round 11, which would have seen him struggle to return this season.
Beams is a best-and-fairest winner at Brisbane and Collingwood, an All Australian in 2012 and was part of the Pies' 2010 premiership side.
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Australian Associated Press