MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Dustin Martin of the Tigers looks dejected after a loss during the 2018 AFL First Preliminary Final match between the Richmond Tigers and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 21, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Richmond star Dustin Martin has spoken out about his battle with mental health issues and depression last year.

The 27-year old opened up on the challenges he faced with not feeling “fulfilled or happy” despite achieving his dreams.

“I haven’t told too many people this, but I found 2018 to be really hard,” Martin told The Age.

“I woke with a weird empty feeling inside and it was really strange. I had everything I wanted and everything I dreamt of, but I didn’t feel fulfilled or happy. I didn’t know what was going on.”

Martin’s battles came a year after he achieved one of the successful individual season’s in AFL history, claiming the Brownlow Medal, Norm Smith Medal and premiership medallion.

And the gun Tiger admitted to feeling a certain amount of pressure after that phenomenal 2017 campaign.

“I started worrying about what others would say about me if I wasn’t at that level anymore. I realised it doesn’t matter what people think; if I just do my best, that’s all I can do. I stopped worrying and I was suddenly free. It was small guided steps, but I learned to live my best life and not take on board what others think of me,” Martin said.

“Mental health is a huge issue not only in sport, but in society. I would encourage anyone who is struggling with something big or small to have the courage to ask for help.”

Now taking up new activities outside of footy such as yoga and reading, Martin is always striving to stay in touch with himself.

“Fame hasn’t changed me,” Martin said.

“It’s nice when friends who I haven’t seen in ages say to me, ‘Dustin, you haven’t changed’.

“I’m still me, and I separate myself from Dustin Martin the footballer.”