tacklingstigma digests an article about Steve Harper and his journey with Mental illness.
Steve Harper, an English Professional Goalkeeper, currently playing for EPL club Sunderland opened up to the media about his battle with depression. He has made 157 appearances for Newcastle United where he has made a name for himself, but has recently explained about his dark times in his career between 2001 and 2005.
Harper has been incredibly brave and contributed well to decreasing the stigma attached to mental health. He has been honest about a time that he describes as a struggle and reached out to necessary support networks around him. Steve explained, “It helps you through it because it was very tough and the more you try to fight it yourself, it gets a hold of you”.
He has stressed the importance of speaking out and emphasised the lengths he goes to in order to look out for players who may be in similar positions to him; “Listen, I’ve had a hard time once, let me know if you’re struggling. I’m here for you.”
Harper strongly states, “It’s only right that players admit to suffering” and his advice will continue to help players young and old. When young people aspire to become professional footballers, they are not always prepared for the long wait for their debut and the retirement in their 40’s. It is important they feel connected to a support network which can prepare them for the tough times in such a demanding career.