Story courtesy of the Waltham Forest Guardian Group:

Walthamstow FC are looking to set up a support centre to help players within the Essex Senior League to deal with mental health problems.

Boss Ryan Maxwell is looking to raise awareness of the issue after two Walthamstow players spoke to him about their own struggles with mental health.

According to the charity MIND, one in four people throughout the UK will experience mental health problems each year and many professional footballers have also spoken about their own issues, including Tottenham Hotspur’s Danny Rose as well as Manchester United coach Michael Carrick. With two of his players suffering from similar issues, Maxwell is now in the process of setting up a community hub at Walthamstow’s clubhouse at Wadham Lodge where players can sit down and talk about their problems.

He said: “I find myself fortunate that I don’t suffer from those things but I seem to be one of very few. Two of my players are suffering from it (mental health problems), one very badly. On a day-to-day basis I’m checking on them.

“What we want to do is get some sort of hub where non-league clubs from the local area and any players who are struggling can come in and have a chat. I have spoken to Gary Charles, the ex-Nottingham Forest footballer, and he had his own issues as a player but has now set up his own company that help in these situations. He’s given me some advice, because obviously, I’m not qualified in any way shape of form.

“I feel like I’m in a position where due to my background in boxing and having a security company, if I can maybe help people come and speak about it at our level, then people might be a bit more relaxed and free to have a little chat. I’d like to do it once a week, but I understand that it might be difficult.

“It would happen at the club in the canteen. I would like to hold it there because I want it to be something affiliated to football because speaking to one of my players, he has gone into a little bit of detail about how he feels and if he’s feeling like the way he’s feeling, then football is a very up and down game and I suppose if you’re not stable, then the emotion in football probably isn’t good for you.

“But if you can talk about it, then it may be better to share it with other people who are struggling with the same thing within football. It would be a cup of tea and a chat and if you can help just a few people and if they know something is there, then it’s worthwhile.”

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