Inverness manager supports mental health initiative for footballers

Richie Foran
Richie Foran (far left) says talking about mental health issues is "not a weakness"

Inverness CT manager Richie Foran has urged players who are suffering from mental health issues to make use of a new support network.

Support Within Sport has been set up by Hampden Sports Clinic to help players with problems such as depression.

A survey of 600 SPFL players found that 64% said either they or team-mates had experienced mental health issues.

"It's not a weakness, if you're having issues like depression, to make that call," Foran said.

"I've been around to players' houses while I was captain at Inverness because I could see that they were really down in the dressing room, they had long-term injuries, so I stopped around at night to make sure they were okay.

"I've also brought other players to meetings when they were having issues, to get them help. It's my responsibility to look after the wellbeing of my players."

De-stigmatising mental health issues

PFA Scotland are supporting the new scheme and have provided help to members suffering from a range of mental health issues.

"One of the big things we need to do is work with the managers and coaches, not only to provide them with support, because they're three or four games away from being on the back pages with people wanting them sacked, but training them to spot the signs," said PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart.

"If someone's misbehaving on the park or all of a sudden has a rush of temper off the park or in training, sometimes you just dismiss that but there might be a reason behind it."

The support network will be available to male and female players in Scotland, as well as coaches and managers, with the intention to "de-stigmatise" mental health issues.

"Our point is to say, there is support, and for families and fellow players and coaches to recognise that within their own club there might be someone who is struggling," said Hampden Sports Clinic chief executive and SFA medical consultant Dr John MacLean.