Gordon Taylor On Mental Health In Footballers
PFA Chief Executive joined Mick Coyle from Radio City Talk to talk about the increasing numbers of footballers coming forward to talk about their mental health and how the PFA welfare department is helping to change the stigma.
Aaron Lennon and others struggling to cope
'We put a player welfare department in place in 2012 because I felt a lot of onus was being placed on the physical aspect of players playing football and not enough on their emotional side, and I think the two go hand-in-hand,' Michael Bennett, PFA head of welfare, told Press Association Sport.
'Last year we had 160; of which 62 were current players and 98 were former players, and that is growing year-on-year.
'Key for me is making our members aware of what is in place and the more we raise awareness, the more people will use the service.
Players in the limelight
'I think it is a male mindset that it is seen as a weakness so for people like Clarke Carlisle, Rio Ferdinand - even Prince Harry - to talk about their own experience brings the taboo down and you become more comfortable being able to talk about it.
'Stress, anxiety, depression are a symptom of something and we try to work out what the root issue is and then place them with the nearest counsellor to where they live, and they just get on with it in a private and confidential setting.
'We are also aware some players or members don't want to speak to someone face-to-face so we set up a 24-hour telephone helping where they can speak to a qualified counsellor any time.
'If we have severe cases, we have psychiatrists we use that can let us assess the player and show us what best routes there are to support them.
'What we are trying to do is educate about what it looks like and what it looks like in the context of football, so they have a better understanding when they encounter it and where to go for support.'