Lennon had to counsel depressed Celtic stars


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The Independent Football

Neil Lennon, the Celtic manager, revealed yesterday he has helped "a couple of younger players at our club" deal with depression.

Lennon said he was pleased other players had sought help via the Professional Footballers' Association and insisted he had benefited from comparing his own fight against depression to overcoming physical injuries.

Lennon urged people with depression not to "hide away" from the condition, but to confide in "loved ones who want to help you get better quickly". The former Leicester City midfielder spoke of his frustration that in some circles "there's always been a stigma with depression". "I remember Stan Collymore [whose problems first came to light in 1999 when he was playing for Aston Villa] was scoffed at," he said. "It's only when you go through something like that you realise what people do go through. It's not a sign of laziness, or [anything] to be ashamed of, it's a very difficult situation to deal with."

Lennon added: "People say 'go on holiday', 'go and have a rest', but you take [the depression] with you. The best thing I've found over the years to cope with it is to talk about it, get professional help and if there is a tablet you have to take that suits you, then do that. It's a fantastic feeling when you come out the other side of and it's a place you don't want to go to again.

"I would implore anybody out there, footballers or from any other walk of life, if you are struggling or are feeling depressed – it's not a question of feeling down, this thing stays with you 24/7, the low mood, the anxiety, the stress – just go and speak to somebody about it, whether it be a loved one or a professional person, and it halves the problem for you."