Depression – Teamwork to kick it into touch

A message to the club, for everyone. Written by Vic Djondo, Club Captain

It’s a sad fact that many of us are living with mental health issues.

Whether it is financial worries, family disputes, office politics, dealing with bereavement or relationship breakdowns, all of us can say that at some point in the recent or distant past we have had to deal with some form of stress. For the most part, we all cope admirably, soldier on and eventually get through the other side of it. But occasionally, we struggle. In exceptional circumstances, we might even be in a state of depression or deep anxiety.

As men we are much more likely to suffer as we’re not in the habit of chatting about our problems, Also, as mates, we often feel awkward asking lads how they are on a personal level – over and above the usual banter.

But it’s time for us to change

We must look at what we can do better in terms of looking after ourselves mentally and emotionally – as well as looking out for our mates. Wealth, fame and popularity don’t necessarily mean that a bloke won’t feel utterly depressed and in such a dark place that he takes the ultimate step. The professional game has seen us lose the likes for Gary Speed (2011) and Robert Enke (Germany keeper, 2009). And we have faced this as a club, with Pete Mayers in 2015.

So what can we do differently?

Fortunately, groups such as the Samaritans have worked with individuals and large organisations to not only raise awareness of mental health but also empower people to talk more openly when they are having problems. They give some real common sense guidance on the simple things we can do to help support our mates and colleagues, as well as take better care of ourselves.

Looking after your mates

  • Avoid working in a silo: Be mindful of others’ pressures
  • “How are you?”: Take the time to ask others how they are
  • Look out for changes: If someone is not quite themselves. The changes can be varied but can include mood swings, anger, blame, uncharacteristic behaviour or performance or him becoming distant and disconnected with everyone else
  • One to ones: Include mental wellbeing in catch-ups
  • Be informed: Look into mental health awareness training.

Looking after yourself at work

  • Take your breaks: For a change of scene or some fresh air
  • Don’t bottle things up: Ask for help when you need it and make sure you talk to someone about your frustrations or anxieties
  • Celebrate achievement: Don’t just focus on what you haven’t done
  • Work-life balance: Make time for non-work activities and meeting friends
  • In-house support: Find out what help is available to you at work.

Men are far more likely to take their own lives when suffering from depression. But if we keep ourselves informed, talk more and look out for each other, we’ll be doing all we can to not lose another one of our mates.

Further information

Visit the following websites for further support for mental health: Mind Samaritans Time to Change IAPT The Mental Health Foundation

Or call the following organisations for further support:

Validium – 0800 358 4858 or 0330 332 9980 (24 hours)
Mind – 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri 9am-6pm)
Samaritans – 08457 909 090 (24 hours)

Thank you, Vic.