Jonathan Trott: Mental health charity Mind claims Trott needs respect, not a label after stress-related illness returns
Trott will take a second break form cricket less than a month after making his comeback
Friday 18 April 2014
Jonathan Trott needs respect, not a label, as he continues his struggles with a stress-related illness - according to mental health charity Mind.
Trott is taking a second extended break from his profession as an England and Warwickshire batsman, after experiencing a return of the "anxieties" which forced him to leave last winter's Ashes tour early.
The 32-year-old made a short-lived comeback for his county this month.
He also explained his problems in a selection of media interviews in March, but the reaction to his description of being "burnt out" was far from universally well-received by cricket pundits.
Mind, however, insist an important part of helping people with mental health problems is not to assert personal judgements about exactly how they may be feeling.
"We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health," said the charity's spokesperson.
"One in four of us will experience symptoms of a mental health problem this year, whether or not we are formally diagnosed, and people identify with and talk about their own experiences in different ways.
"We should accept and respect the way people talk about their own experiences and not seek to assert our own judgement or label anyone in any particular way."
Trott is the latest cricketer to have encountered similar difficulties, after his own former team-mate Michael Yardy and their predecessor Marcus Trescothick both had to leave overseas tours.
Mind identifies high-profile sport, if not specifically cricket, as a profession in which such problems can occasionally become severe.
"Stress is not a medical diagnosis - but severe stress that continues for a long time may lead to depression, anxiety or more acute mental health problems," added the spokesperson.
"Within the world of elite sport, there is undeniable pressure to deliver outstanding performances time after time.
"There is little room for error, and failure to deliver can cost a player their position on a team.
"In addition there is an atmosphere where asking for help can be perceived as a weakness and speaking out about mental health problems a taboo."
Trott's employers and his players' union, the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Professional Cricketers Association, have ensured help is in place for any player who needs it.
PCA chief executive Angus Porter said: "We work very closely with the ECB. All players are aware we have a confidential helpline that is fully funded and that they can access support and any necessary treatment.
"[Mental health issues are] much more common than people assume. One in four people will have an episode of mental illness at some point."
There is no direct evidence available to him which elevates cricket as a high-risk profession above others.
"What we know from our research is that the propensity to mental illness is pretty much the same among social and professional groups," said Porter.
He does, however, advocate care over the language used and opinions voiced in public discussion of situations such as Trott's.
"I am not an expert, and I think there are dangers of anybody who is not expert passing comment on specific cases.
"One thing I have learned is that every case is different.
"Taking a non-expert view on any one situation could be counter-productive ... but airing the debate on this important subject is not."
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