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It's great news that the Professional Footballers' Association has launched 'The Footballers' Guidebook', that aims to help footballers deal with mental health issues.
This is very positive move, which we hope will help footballers accept that mental health are a common experience, that should be talked about more openly.
We are beginning to see signs of a greater openness about mental health in sport – Frank Bruno and Marcus Trescothick have fronted our campaign; while the response to the recent news that cricketer Michael Yardy was coming home from the World Cup because of his depression was one of support from the public, his team mates, and the media.
But in the macho world of football, mental illness still remains taboo. We saw with the sad death of German goalkeeper Robert Enke that at its most extreme, the stigma that prevents people from speaking out about mental illness can have tragic consequences.
Greater openness about mental health in football will benefit not just players who are suffering in silence, but millions of men who watch them. Young men in particular are less likely to seek help for mental health problems and more likely to take their own lives. A more open culture in football will encourage them that it’s OK to talk about mental health, and get help. We applaud the leadership the PFA and the FA, who also supported the Guidebook, are showing in tackling this issue.