THE PRESSURES of daily life have an impact on people across all sections of society and footballers feel those stresses like anyone else.
Michail Antonio, David Martin and Angelo Ogbonna have opened up about dealing with the highs and lows the game can bring as part of West Ham United’s support for the Heads Up campaign which has been visible at football grounds up and down the country in recent weeks.
“The pressures of the game take their toll,” said Antonio. “It’s important to speak to people.
“When you feel trapped, by venting it, getting it out and not hiding it, as soon as you get it out you feel the relief and the weight comes off your chest. That’s always key.”
Over the last two weekends, the Premier League joinied the wider football family in dedicating its matches to Heads Up, which aims to get the nation talking about mental health.
Spearheaded by HRH The Duke of Cambridge, the campaign aims to harness the influence and popularity of football to normalise the conversation around mental health issues.
“I’m a human being at the end of the day and I have worries like anyone else,” Martin said. “Football is a short career and I am at the back end of that, even though I feel like I still have a lot to give, and it’s worrying to think in five or six years, I won’t be able to be a professional footballer any more.
“They’re the things I worry about, how I’m going to provide for my family.
“I think if I am feeling like I am slipping into a negative frame of mind, the best way to get positive is to voice those concerns and talk to people.”