Former Luton Town goalkeeper Craig King has been praised by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) head of welfare Michael Bennett for opening up about his battle against depression last week.
The 20-year-old rejected a one year deal at Kenilworth Road after revealing he has suffering with the illness, which had left him ‘slowly starting to despise the game I loved.’
It is the stereotypical taboo and stigma which we are trying to change in the game and we are making strides with that.Michael Bennett
Meanwhile, England international and QPR defender Steven Caulker spoke to the Guardian about how he had been left contemplating suicide after his gambling and alcohol problems.
Bennett told the PFA.com: “What we have to do now is when the likes of Steven Caulker come out, or (former Arsenal Ladies and England forward) Kelly Smith, (ex Wales goalkeeper) Jason Brown, or someone like Craig King from Luton, who has come forward to share their experiences, we need to offer the relevant support.
“What we are asking for is to not only educate the players, but we educate the coaches and managers as well, so that when a player does encounter mental health issues, that should not work against them in regards to coming forwards and seeking treatment.
“It is the stereotypical taboo and stigma which we are trying to change in the game and we are making strides with that, because two or three years ago, we would not even be having this conversation, so we have come a long way in a short space of time.
“We need to educate our footballing environment that this is going to happen and what we need to do is make sure we have the right support in place and a better understanding to help people come forwards and then to move on with the next stage of their lives.”
The PFA provides a 24/7 counselling telephone helpline and support network. All services are completely private and confidential.
PFA members (or concerned friends and family) can contact: 07500 000 777 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.