Mental Health Issues in Professional Football

As we are all aware news broke recently regarding Everton’s Aaron Lennon and his mental health well-being. At this time his club and family have asked for some privacy while Aaron receives the treatment he needs to begin his long road to recovery and I think we should respect their wishes.

Mental Health Issues once upon a time were not talked about in professional sport and in recent years we have lost some footballing greats to Mental health issues, German international Robert Enke sadly took his life as he felt he could no longer carry on and also the late great Gary Speed also took his own life which acted as the catalyst in world football to address Mental Health Issues.

A number of retired ex-pro’s have all discussed their battle with Mental Health Issues to name a few – Stan Collymore, Clarke Carlisle who is now an ambassador for Mind have opened up about the problems they faced during their playing careers.

The PFA are now taking steps to maintain that players and coaches are now well supported with regards to there Mental well-being. The Football Association have  set up a National Counsellors Support Network to run alongside a 24 hour helpline along with building a close relationship with the group Time to Change to help support players and coaches alike.

New FIFAPro research shows that symptoms of mental health problems are more widespread in current and former professional footballers than in the general population across the board. Research was led by a former player and now FIFApro’s medical officer Vincent Gouttebarge,the research was carried out across 3 continents and it found that players who suffered more than 3 serious injuries throughout their careers were two to nearly four times more likely to report that they suffered from Mental Health problems.

Bouts of Depression and Anxiety are reportedly the main issues with current and former pro players which come in at around 13%. Mental Health problems are not the discussed subject or at least this was the case until recently but thankfully the PFA have a great support network in place to help support former and current players, let’s make no mistake about it this is not just in Football it is across all sporting platforms.

This evening I saw an article published releasing  Aaron Lennon’s earnings which have absolutely no baring on what Aaron is going through and one that frankly infuriated me, instead of focusing on his wages, why not get behind Aaron and his family and support him and let him know we are all behind him in his battle.

Aaron is a gifted footballer who is going through a difficult time at the moment so instead of looking to report what he earns which is irrelevant, lets support him and get him back playing the sport in which loves dearly.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Let us know in the comments below!