The mental health taboo: the unhealthy side of football


Josh Jackman looks into mental health, one of the remaining taboo subjects in football…

“I was branded a disgrace for revealing I was suffering from depression. People just couldn’t understand it when outwardly they thought I had everything – to them I was living the dream.”

Stan Collymore’s comments this week were shocking but unsurprising. Despite progress being made over the last few years – particularly with the Professional Footballers’ Association’s establishment of a support service in 2013 – mental health is still a taboo subject in the sport.

In the year since the PFA set up the National Counsellors Support Network for Professional Footballers, it has helped 136 players who have diseases from depression to addiction. The number of footballers who suffer in silence, however, is anyone’s guess.

One in four people will suffer from mental health issues at some point in their lives, while 10 per cent contract depression. Statistically speaking, that means there are hundreds of professional footballers in the UK who have not yet sought help. Continue reading