PFA chief executive on the issue of mental health in football

Gordon Taylor speaks to Off The Ball

ball, football

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Professional Footballers Association chief executive Gordon Taylor says doing the utmost to help players in regards to mental health issues is something on the representative body's agenda. 

The issue of mental health and how best to help those affected within football was raised this week in relation to Everton winger Aaron Lennon.

Speaking to Off The Ball, Taylor explained that mental health is an issue that is very much the focus of their work.

"We've had this on our agenda along with a lot of other issues with regard to player welfare for a number of years now. It particularly came to the fore with the tragic death of Gary Speed and our chairman Clark Carlisle had a very serious incident that threatened his life, and quite a number of other players including, of course, Aaron this week," said Taylor.

"It's been very helpful that since we launched our 24 hour helpline manned by what was originally some 20 to 30 trained councillors is now in the region of nearly 100 counsellors and we took on more with the recent situation with regard to historical abuse and non-recent abuse for safeguarding issues and as a result, a lot more players have been coming forward.

"We've had approximately 150 current players and former players in the last year, so the message is getting through and you have seen where Prince Harry backed up by Prince William has been very much involved in mental health and sharing and caring.

"It's much more on the agenda and football being a team game, football is good at coming round and supporting people as well when they have difficulties. We've seen that with Aaron, we've seen that in the past and I hope that will very much help in the future."

If you've been affected by the issues raised in this post, you can contact Samaritans at 116 123 or by emailing