Osian Roberts praises work done to rid football of mental health stigma
2 February 2017

Osian Roberts praises work done to rid football of mental health stigma

We Wear The Same Shirt campaign goes from strength to strength

Wales Assistant Manager Osian Roberts says football is working hard to rid itself of mental health stigma but insists there’s plenty more work to be done.

The FAW Trust Technical Director works with players across the spectrum from our age grade teams to the national team and says the pressures each individual faces can be very diverse but coaches are learning all the time to appreciate the impact mental health can have on performance and well being.

He said: “A lot of work has been done but we can’t assume we’ve solved the problems by any stretch of the imagination. But now the support mechanism and empathy is far better now than it’s ever been.

“In general, players are far more open to talk about their situations and therefore more support can be provided.

“A great deal has been done but there is certainly a lot more to be done.

“Playing professional football is a high-pressure environment and playing a match is a very stressful situation.

Speaking of the pressure football players at the elite level can face, he said: “They need to perform to succeed and it’s important for coaches to understand what the player goes through and understand them as individuals because all players are different.

“Some will be easy to read and more open and ready to talk than others but with some you might have to anticipate and identify that there might be a problem.

“It’s important that there’s a great relationship between coaches and players and that we understand our individuals and respect their difficulties and make sure we empathise, support and help them in our own way.

“At the same time, we have to identify what support is needed and we can signpost them to those areas.

“Ultimately we want the players to perform and express themselves and to do that they need to be clear in their minds and to have that mental approach that’s going to help them.

“We want them to perform on that pitch and to do that they need all necessary support and feel we understand their viewpoint and their experiences.”

The FAW Trust is helping mental health sufferers through football with the We Wear The Same Shirt campaign. Click here to find out more about how it could help you.

Osian Roberts praises work being done to rid Welsh football of mental health stigma