Mind comment on the death of Gary Speed
Posted Sunday 27 November 2011
Following the tragic news of the death of Wales manager Gary Speed, Mind has issued the following comment.
Paul Farmer, Mind Chief Executive, said:
The apparent suicide of Gary Speed is a tragic and shocking event. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this very difficult time.
The high-pressure environment of top-level sport can cause huge levels of stress and, just because someone appears to be able to carry on their usual daily life, it does not mean that they are not struggling in private.
Gary Speed is not the first footballer to experience mental distress and nor, sadly, will he be the last. The suicide of German goalkeeper Robert Enke in 2009 shows that sportsmen, like anyone else, are not immune from the devastating effects of mental health problems.
Each year, more than 4,000 people in England and Wales take their own lives and three quarters of suicides are by men. The macho culture of football means that we have seen very few professionals come forward to talk about mental health problems but It is only by speaking out about mental health, whether through the media or privately, that we can increase understanding and awareness of these issues, and encourage people to be able to seek the help that they need.
Sue Baker, Director of anti-stigma campaign Time to Change, said:
We do not yet know the circumstances around the terrible tragedy of Gary Speed’s death but we want to encourage anyone experiencing similar levels of despair to try and speak to someone, whether friend, family or their doctor. In the past few days, fellow former footballer Stan Collymore has been tweeting openly and honestly about his own ongoing battle with depression. We hope that everyone feels able to follow Collymore’s advice to seek help if they feel like this.
If you need information or advice about mental health problems, or need somewhere to turn for support, call the Mind Infoline on 0300 123 3393, or visit www.facebook.com/timetochange