Yesterdays game at the Valley was mental health awareness day, Charlton Athletic Community Trust has teamed up with Time To Change, Oxleas, Kent and Medway NHS Trust, Bridge and Greenwich Mind, to raise awareness of mental health.
In the studio tonight we have Mickey Bennett and Matt Baker, Mickey is a former CAFC player who these days is heavily involved with helping current and former professional players with mental health issues, Matt Baker is CAFC Chaplain and a leading campaigner raising awareness of mental health issues.
For too long mental illness has had a stigma attached to it, so many people suffer in silence, afraid to tell anybody of their issues for fear of being labelled, this has to change, So many people suffer from these problems, 1 in 4 in any year are affected, in reality the chances are either you or one of your family either has or will suffer in some way, we need to raise awareness so that the stigma is removed, it is getting better, but we still have such a long way to go yet.
I personally have struggled at times with depression, in recent years, this will come as a shock to some people who know me, they only see what I want them to see, the happy, smiling person that they will tell you I am, but as with a lot of sufferers its a bit of an act.
I have managed to talk to people I know about how I am feeling, being able to share how you feel is an incredible help in desperate times, in my case I have never spoken to members of my family, or many of my friends, only a very few are aware of the issues I have had, what has stopped me has been the fear of how people will react, by sharing my experience tonight I hope we can in some small way help remove the stigma, I know from my own experience bottling it up and keeping it to yourself makes thing so much worse than they could be, now I know if I am struggling I have a few friends that I can email, text or message, people who I know understand how I am feeling, and likewise they contact me when they are struggling, none of us are experts but we help each other through bad days, with out campaigns like this heaven knows where I or my friends would be.
There is now so much help out there, listed below are links where you can talk to someone about yourself or someone close to you. Please help us to raise awareness and make it easier for us to talk about it.