This weekend each of the Scottish cup games started one minute later than usual to promote the mental health awareness campaign: Heads up.
Such a campaign in football and in society in general has to be welcomed as the figures at the moment are stark: in the UK alone it is said that 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental health issue each year.
I myself have experienced a battle with mental health over the last 12 months and having started the Football CFB podcast in late 2019, I have further realised just how important it is to speak about mental health issues and to encourage those struggling to release that it’s okay not to be okay.
For example on my podcasts with Kerr Waddell and Christian Nade – both players spoke openly and admirably on their own battles with mental health.
On the football CFB podcast, Christian Nade described battling with mental health as like being in a car crash except those around you can’t see the bruises and the bleeding but internally you feel it and you hurt like many people would never believe.
His view was echoed by Kerr Waddell – on another episode of the football CFB podcast – who spoke about how tough battling with an injury is for a footballer both mentally and physically. Kerr explained that “Everyone told me it was quite a bad injury but I couldn’t accept it.
“I knew I couldn’t play, I couldn’t even train, I couldn’t run and I could hardly get out of bed.
“I couldn’t get out of bed because of the injury but there were days when, because I felt so down about it, I couldn’t get out my bed mentally either.
“I just wanted to lie there all day. There were days that I just sat in bed for three days at a time
“I didn’t speak to anyone at all. I shut out all my family and I actually lost quite a few friends over it.”
Both players also discussed how tough it can be at first to talk out on mental health but both players – like I have – would encourage anyone struggling with mental health to speak to a close friend or family member whenever they are struggling.
On my podcast – @football_cfb on twitter – I have discussed mental health in football in numerous episodes so far and the words of those who have experienced mental health are very inspiring.
Several charities are also doing incredible work to encourage people to seek help with their mental health through the medium of football such as Kick Mental Health, Back Onside and Time to Tackle. All of these charities can be accessed on twitter and online and I must say their work is very inspiring.
To conclude, I would like to finish by saying this: if you are struggling with your mental health please speak to a family member, a friend or your GP. I’ve been there myself, it’s tough but it does help. My email is also always open for anyone struggling with mental health – firstname.lastname@example.org