The Black Cap star who spectacularly fell from grace after admitting match-fixing has revealed his tough battle to retain his health after a suicide attempt.
In a frank interview with Tony Veitch, to be aired on Newstalk ZB today, Lou Vincent revealed that confessing to match-fixing drove him to attempt suicide.
The former Black Cap has lifted the lid on the desperate mental health problems he plunged into as a result of admitting he cheated, saying he knows now he is "blessed to be alive".
And he is speaking out to help others facing similar mental health issues, saying he has "learned to love myself for the first time in years".
Racked with guilt and self-loathing after owning up to 18 counts of match and spot-fixing in English cricket in 2008 and 2011, Vincent says rather than feeling liberated by his confession, he was gripped by a dark, overwhelming depression.
Seeing no other way out, he attempted suicide.
"It's just an out of body experience and it's incredibly sad that a human being's mind can allow someone to make that decision to take their life," he said in an interview to air on Veitch on Sport today.
Vincent admitted to match-fixing in July 2014 with a blunt statement which began: "My name is Lou Vincent and I am a cheat."
He was banned for life from having any involvement in cricket by the England and Wales Cricket Board. But he started to believe that punishment wasn't near enough and instead, he should have to pay the ultimate price.
Vincent says he's finally turned the corner and is now focused on looking after his two daughters. After getting his health back on track, Vincent says his choice to take the witness stand at Chris Cairns' perjury trial last year was an attempt to offer "my last string of respect to give back to the game". However, the judge warned jurors Vincent's testimony was not necessarily reliable before Cairns was found not guilty.
Today's decision to thrust himself back into the spotlight is because Vincent wants New Zealand to confront mental health issues and address the nation's suicide problem.
Last month an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report said New Zealand has one of the worst suicide rates for under 30's in the developed world.
On Friday, which was also Vincent's 38th birthday, the Ministry of Health released fresh data on Kiwi suicides, confirming there were 508 in 2013 - most of which (365) were men.
It's just the guilt, the no way out, this wall in your head that just says you are useless, you have no purpose, you're a loser, you're a failure and people will know you're a failure. You feel like that stigma is going to stick with you forever,
Vincent says it's time something was done to encourage more people to seek help, and to change attitudes towards mental health.
"It breaks my heart that people are out there, struggling, and I know what it's like. You don't know where to reach, you don't know where to go."
He said people should know that "there's a time down the track where you think 'my God, I've survived'.
"I'd like to see a bigger shift in that where there is some kind of subsidy or through employment where there is some sort of Warrant of Fitness on our brain.
"Mental health is one of the most important elements to all of our beings because we are dragged left, right and centre, we are very confused. I always like to interpret it like a car. We have a car we rely on and get it serviced every six months otherwise she's going to start blowing smoke or break down.
"Our brains are very similar, even more complex and a lot more things can go wrong."
However, despite having dealt with some of his darkest days, Vincent also acknowledges the fight to stay healthy isn't over. He hopes his family and aiding others through their demons can help keep his at bay too.
Vincent is currently working as a project manager overseeing about eight properties.
"I've got a new job in a new career, a simple life, two adorable little girls that are my focus at the moment and we'll see what happens. Me getting out there and speaking to people about life and encouraging people to move on no matter how hard the situation they are in inspires me more than going to watch a cricket game," he said.
"There is hope and I can sit here now, and I'm almost in tears, and feel so happy that I've conquered it. You're never home and hosed because we don't know what's around the corner.
"I might not have a million dollars in the bank but I've got $10 and I'm going to go out and buy a coffee for my friend and give something back to someone.
"It does take time, but it's certainly inspiring when you can look at it straight on and win."
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• Samaritans 0800 726 666
• If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.