PFA produces guidebook to help footballers with mental health problems
Every footballer in England’s top four divisions will receive a new guidebook to help them address mental health issues.
The book has been put together by the PFA with the aim of helping players suffering from panic, anxiety, depression or other mental health problems amid concerns that footballers are currently to ashamed or afraid to seek the help they need.
PFA chairman and Burnley centre-back Clarke Carlisle said: “Talking about mental-health problems has traditionally been one of sport’s great taboo.
“When the boxer Frank Bruno was sectioned under the Mental Health Act, the press ran the headline ‘Bonkers Bruno locked up’ and, given this attitude, it is unsurprisingly very rare for sportsmen and sportswomen to ‘come out’ about mental ill health voluntarily.
“Many players may not actually recognise what it is or know how to seek help. I think this guidebook is groundbreaking for players and it takes the first steps towards talking about mental health in professional football.”
The 36-page book plays out several scenarios that players might find themselves in, illustrated by a comic strip of the situation. The situations include coping with depression brought on by an injury lay-off and dealing with retirement.
PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said: “A football dressing room is a bit like being in a barrack room in the services ; it’s about not showing mental weakness. Players have to put on a show but it’s the ducks on the water; they might look calm on the surface but, underneath, they are paddling furiously.
“We are trying to change things and create an atmosphere of solidarity … not to make players with these problems the object of ridicule but to appreciate their qualities and to want to hold them together for the sake of the team.”
The guidebook will be issued at the start of next season.
Spotted on The Guardian