Wenger: Admitting mental health issues can be difficult for players

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Arsene Wenger says that the culture of football, where men are supposed to be strong and front-up to any problems, can play a part in players being reluctant to admit they’re suffering from mental health problems.

The situation was brought into focus this week when it was reported that Everton’s Aaron Lennon had been detained under the mental health act.

The difficulties Wenger spoke about were highlighted by the likes of the Daily Mail who conflated his problems with his salary:

Like the gigantic wankblasters they are, they’ve since deleted that Tweet, but it’s a dismal thing to write, as if mental health issues shouldn’t apply to those who earn lots of money.

Just like physical ailments, mental health problems are indiscriminate, and don’t care about salary, lifestyle, how many goals you’ve scored, or anything else.

The Arsenal manager was asked about it at his press conference today, and hinted that such is the stigma that surrounds this area, many players would be unwilling to ask their club for help in case it was perceived as a kind of weakness.

“We help on the mental front players who want help, of course,” he said. “It’s difficult for the players, when they do not meet their needs – like all of us – they are frustrated and they suffer certainly with self esteem in situations.

“The expectation level around them is very high. Their family, their agents the pressure on them is very big. It’s not easy to deal with that when you’re at a young age.

“When needed, we try to help them, yes.”

Asked if Arsenal and other clubs had the necessary resources to help players, he said, “Yes, but sometimes the players don’t want to show [that they need help].

“It could be interpreted as a weakness inside the club.

“I believe you understand that most of the players when they want help they do it outside the club.”

Let’s hope that talking about these things more openly will help reduce the unnecessary shame people feel about suffering mental health problems.

No doubt there are people reading this story who have gone through difficult times themselves, and those who don’t quite understand how debilitating it can be.

Just because you can’t see a problem, doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

Let’s continue to talk, and to listen to each other.

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Loose_Cannon

The Daily Mail is a disgrace of a paper and frankly a national embarrassment!

Goonie

Add Piers Morgan to that list. Parasite.

The Wizard of Oz(il)

Sometimes I am deeply embarrassed because my company works for the corporation that is owned by Daily Mail. Sadly, in my country, we have collapsing economy and they exploit us like slaves even though my job is far from some other jobs here (IT). They are truly disgusting and yet you guys seem to buy and read them all the time. Such is the way of the tabloids I guess, all around the world…

Mr. White

Ramsey’s got mental issues. Guy thinks he’s worldclass in his head. Can’t believe he gets into an Arsenal 11

arseblog

Not helpful

Heavenly Chapecoense

Go work for Daily Mail, they will hire you, you know ?

Oor Wullie

What a total dickhead you are.

IamaGoober

@Mr. White

Ah come on man show some class – you’ve literally completely missed the point of the whole article by posting a comment like that.

Matt Clay

You really understand this issue obviously

Giroud\'s scorpion kick

It’s a funny comment until… wait, no, it never got to be funny. Mental health is a real issue and you are a real bellend

MarkG

As someone who has developed mental health issues (panic attacks & anxiety) that where diagnosed 6 months ago – not long in the grand scheme of things but I chose to leave my job to focus on getting better – I have always been open to friends, family and my former workplace about it. Truth is I have never once felt embarrassed or ashamed to say because everyone has been understanding. Just talk to someone folks, sometimes it just feels better to get shit out in the open. Too many young people have took their lives here in the North… Read more »

HamiltonGunner

Spot on Mark. I hope you feel better soon. I remember when I was having some problems I didn’t want to go and talk to someone and after months my lovely wife finally convinced me to go. It was the best decision I ever made. I realized I wasn’t alone and talking about it made it easier to deal with because now I wasn’t carrying a secret around with me everyday by myself.

MarkG

Great to hear mate 🙂 such a weight of your shoulders! I’m still in the counselling stage, early days but I already feel slightly rejuvenated. Best decision indeed.

HamiltonGunner

Brother, your are helping to make my day amazing. I am so happy for you. Things will keep on getting better and improving. There might be some setbacks along the way but just deal with it and keep moving forward. I used to hate telling people about my childhood and how I felt. It was embarassing and made feel weak or not good enough because I had a problem. When I started talking about it and talking to other people about it it became less embarassing and its power over me began to erode. Now I talk about it all… Read more »

MarkG

Thanks for the kind words buddy! You’re a decent fella, glad to hear you’re taking it on the chin and can even have a laugh about it now. Shows what the power of communication can do. Life’s too short to worry about things you can’t control or worrying about something that happened.

Now if The Gunners could kindly get their shit together and we’ll all be happy! 😀

arseblog

Glad to hear you’re doing so well and thanks for sharing.

Fin

Great to hear mate. Ireland especially seems to have a real problem with it (I’m sure the UK does too just not on ground zero there) so it’s brilliant to hear you have such a strong outlook on it.

cygan\'sbaldspot

That’s due to the awful weather. Lack of vitamin D is known to cause fatigue and depression. My advice, if you’re living here in Ireland or in the UK or someplace where it’s gray and dull, go get some vitamin D pills.

Tasmanian Jesus

I dont think vitamins have that much to do with it.
I live above the arctic circle, and yes, vitamin D helps with energy in the complete darkness of the winter months…but Im pretty sure its no cure for mental illness.

Just talk people, and help will be available!

IAmGooner

I suffered with survivor guilt for just over a decade after a bad incident in the Army. Was getting worse and worse every year. At my lowest point I broke down at a friend’s wedding. It was then that I realised I needed to get some help from someone. 6 years later and I’m getting better. Keep your chin up pal, and use your friends and family. All the best!

arseblog

Good work man!

IAmGooner

Cheers Blogs. Pretty sure that being a Goober during that time didn’t help much ??

IAmGooner

Gooner*

MarkG

Sorry to hear about what happened, I can only imagine… but you did the right thing. Happy to hear you’re on the road to recovery! It’s positive to see people chipping in with their stories, someone’s always there ladies and gentlemen, even Arseblog!

IAmGooner

There is a massive stigma connected with mental health issues. I have found that people who have, or have had them, are always happy to talk about them, as they know what people are going through and want to help out. I always try to offer support to people, even Sp*rs fans.

Giroud\'s scorpion kick

Thanks for sharing, really. This is what these kind of news and situations should cause: to openly talk about issues, problems and situations common to many of us. To raise awareness and share life experiences so we get better together.

hustle6

As someone who works in mental health I have to say Wenger’s insight into mental health problems and the negative aspects of football macho culture and elitism is astounding. It is poignant that he is the only one talking about it. Sometimes I honestly think he’s too worldly and intelligent to be a football manager. I remember when he was talking about goal line technology about 10 years ago and so many people chose to see it as “bloody foreigner coming here changing the game” “wenger’s a sore loser he can’t take losing to an unlucky goal.” Then Lampard gets… Read more »

Dixon\'s Awsome Own Goal

I think most commentors to this site recognise the difference between praising the man for his considered opinions on the game and wider society, and saying he should stay on as manager.

I respect Corbyn for wanting everyone to be nice to each other. Do I want him as Labour leader or PM? No chuffing way.

And of course Wenger is spot on, as he was with his remarks on gambling culture last week.

Martin

Your comment about Jeremy Corbyn is nonsensical. I agree with your other comments.

Dixon\'s Awsome Own Goal

How is it nonsensical? I think some of what JC says makes sense in terms of how people should think about the society we live in, or would want to live in. Does that make him fit to take lead the UK into the future? My personal view is no but others will fisageee. No comparison is perfect but I think you can see where I was going…

Dixon\'s Awsome Own Goal

– fisageee
+ disagree

BromleyGooner

Whether as fans we want Wenger to go or not I doubt any of us has anything but respect for him as a man

sullytaylor

Would you not like to see him manage another club?

I personally would.

Spanish Gooner

It is mad the sort of things these players must go through. I remember Denilson being a bright young talent who was taken from his friends and family in Brazil, popped in the middle of a huge city where he didn’t speak the language and given more money than he could dream of and people wonder why he struggled. The world of football is mad

Matt

“it’s a dismal thing to write, as if mental health issues shouldn’t apply to those who earn lots of money.”

Exactly. Far from it, wealth for a young person from a working class background is particularly isolating since it forces an uncertainty about ones own class identity. Added to the particularly vicious abuse footballers routinely get even from their own supporters, you can be pretty sure mental health problems are prevalent in football, both during a career and in retirement.

Eva

“Let’s hope that talking about these things more openly will help reduce the unnecessary shame people feel about suffering mental health problems.” I fully agree that that *should* happen, but will it? Here in Germany there was a lot of public discussion of the subject after Robert Enke committed suicide. The DFB did make noises about players needing support, and about a need to remove the stigma so people seek treatment (IIRC Enke kept his illness totally secret even from friends). But I don’t really see any changes. In society, the stigma is still there (at least if you can’t… Read more »

matty t.

The Daily Mail is the mouthpiece of one man, its loathsome editor Paul Dacre. His poisonous, divisive, fear and hate-mongering views have been exerting a worryingly large influence over swathes of the British population for decades now.

This is an illuminating and disturbing article showing what kind of man he is :-

http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/daily-mail

Jacob

If anything, when you look at how weird and badly put together the world of football is, inequality from board level to club management, money ruling everything, young players thrown under the bus by their managers months after recovering from broken legs, not one homosexual footballer who feels safe enough to come out in public, gambling and alcohol advertisements everywhere, the immense pressure from agents being applied to players who are still teenagers, non stop scrutiny on social media, its a wonder that instances such as what occurred with Aaron Lennon don’t occur more often. Its a huge shame and… Read more »

Dixon\'s Awsome Own Goal

Absolutely spot on. Incredibly well summed up

Gooner223

Great to see such empathy about mental health. It’s not even close to a humorous topic, and completely absurd to suggest money, race, lifestyle would be any factor. Mr. Wenger is spot on. It is a topic that many men feel ashamed about, to ask someone for help or for someone to listen. It’s not something my father or grandfather would have done, in fearing one feels weaker, less of a man in doing, so one refrains. I suffer with depression, have for many years – I lost everything before I got help. Wife of 18 years, house, family. Gone.… Read more »

HamiltonGunner

Thank you for sharing! I know exactly what you mean. My father would never go speak to someone, he hardly admits he sheds a tear. We are all in this world together and the sooner we all come together to help a d support each other the better we will be. I you need anything please know we are here to help and support.

arseblog

I hope you’re doing better now man ?

Chris O.

Among the things I’ll mist most about Wenger whenever it is that he goes will be his ability to speak at a high and mature level on any number of serious subjects. Issues like this one re mental health are typically an intellectual wasteland in the world of football.

Chris O.

*miss

Özil Gummidge

Indiscriminate in terms of money and success. No reference to the individual circumstances here at all, but it’s good to be aware there are cultural and political factors that make it much, much more likely that, as just one example, a ‘difficult’ black male will be sectioned than a white ‘eccentric’.

Crash Fistfight

Is that true? I didn’t realise, if so.

Özil Gummidge

BAME people 3 times more likely to be sectioned and 17 times more likely to be diagnosed with a serious mental health issue.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=black+people+more+likely+to+be+sectioned

900ftGooner

This piece is really well done. Informative, empathetic, and humorous all at the same time. You gents can be proud of this and the response of the community to it. Though disagreements about the club’s direction, about expectations, about personnel decisions, about tactics may be profound and passionate, almost everyone commenting realizes at a deep level that we’re all in this together. That’s quite an accomplishment.

Matt Clay

Comments here are a great example of what makes Gooners unique. Harder to talk about in the pub agreed but shows how many people feel it.

santori

The press will manufacture Arsenal as weak. Fact is we don’t do us any favours. BUT its hard to say we are mentally weak because we have clawed our way back from disaster over several seasons now and salvaged our position. That takes a bit of fortitude. However it won’t be amiss to say we are too casual and that forces us into these back against the wall situations time and again. If the press thinks we are about to collapse though, they should well remember the same Chelsea team that was abject (had a worse season than us) last… Read more »

Crash Fistfight

What the flying fuck does this have to do with the article?

Your rambling parroting of the same messages is annoying at the best of times, but this takes the biscuit.

adgonner

I am gooner from India and have been facing mental health issues for years now.. have got no idea how to tackle it.. really fear for myself sometimes.. Arsenal is the only thing that gets me through sometimes.. have just got no idea what to with this shit..

arseblog

Talk to someone, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help ?

HamiltonGunner

If you need some help just let us know. We are here for you. We are all in this together. Sending positive thoughts your way my friend. Hang in there, there is a bright beautiful light at the end of the tunnel and we can get there together.

Q Mantis

Adgonner you have taken steps in the right direction by reaching out. It’s OK to talk and share with some one you trust.

Alex

Physical ailments and mental health issues are *sometimes* indiscriminate.

Poor self-maintenance and poor environment can contribute to both/either.

And yes, his salary has nothing to do with it.