The Professional Football Association has revealed more than two hundred players have contacted them for help with mental health in two weeks, according to reports.
The body are reportedly worried as a consequence about the psychological impact boredom and isolation is having on footballers amid the coronavirus lockdown.
A report in The Daily Telegraph claims 258 players, both past and present, have contacted the PFA for help in the two weeks since they circulated a mental health survey questioning them on issues ranging from depression and self-harm to alcohol and gambling abuse.
The PFA has revealed more than 200 players have contacted them for mental health help
And of those players who have contacted the union over that period, at least 12 of those cases allegedly relate to help with addiction and depression.
The figure of 258 is nearly 40 per cent of the 653 players who sought support throughout 2019 and almost 60 per cent of the 2018 total, when 438 footballers required assistance.
The report also states that of the 258 who have completed and returned the PFA’s ‘player welfare survey’ so far, 64 were footballers who currently play in the Premier League, Championship, League One or League Two – as well as the Women’s Super League.
Thirteen cases were also reportedly labelled ‘high risk’, with only one allegedly not relating to a current player after they had displayed symptoms of depression and/or self-harm and issues relating to addiction.
The body are worried about the psychological impact the coronavirus lockdown is having
The claims come after Michael Bennett, the PFA’s director of welfare, revealed last week that 299 players had accessed an extensive network of support during the first quarter of the year.
The PFA’s questionnaire has allegedly been re-sent to delegates across the 91 professional clubs and the WSL alongside a Covid-19 e-brochure recently, in the hope more players will share their feelings and experiences during the lockdown period.
As well as concerns over boredom and isolation, the report also states there are fears the lockdown situation could be compounded by family concerns and money troubles, especially for players further down the English football pyramid who have been furloughed or had wages deferred or cut.
The figure of 258 is nearly 40 per cent of the 653 players who sought support throughout 2019
Numerous clubs are making strenuous efforts to safeguard the mental health of players.
Brighton have hired a mental health specialist to speak with players and staff after a Fifpro survey found the number of footballers reporting symptoms of depression has doubled since the sport’s shutdown.
Manchester United are offering their players advice on meditation and coping with children to help them through the coronavirus crisis.
Brighton have hired a mental health specialist to speak with players and staff during lockdown
Club doctor Steve McNally said earlier in the week that the squad had been given ‘a number of resources to tap into if they wanted’ during the lockdown.
It’s understood these include a set of documents on nutrition and wellbeing that have been issued to all the players.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has also opened up to BT Sport on the mental support he has been giving his players during isolation.