Mental Health Awareness Week

Lennon: I didn't realise there was so much help around

10 May 2022

Burnley winger speaks about his own mental health struggles and urges people to seek help if they need it

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To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Aaron Lennon has urged people who are struggling with their mental health to take advantage of the help that is available.

The Burnley winger has struggled with his own mental health in the past and is sharing his story to encourage others not to suffer in silence.

"I was in a depressed state for a long period of time but it was that last real period when it literally took a big fall really quickly and by then I was in a really, really, dark, dark place," said the 35-year-old.

"I didn't want to speak to anyone, I didn't want to get any help. I also didn't realise there was so much help around.

"It is just so important for people knowing that there is a lot of help out there, and it's all right not to feel OK, it's all right to not feel great every day."

Support for young people

Lennon is determined to increase mental health awareness and has joined together with Clarets captain Ben Mee in becoming ambassadors for Schools' Mental Wellbeing Project, a programme run by Burnley in the Community that supports mental wellbeing among young people.

The programme works with 10 secondary schools across Burnley and Pendle and, since it began in 2018, has delivered one-to-one sessions and group sessions for more than 3,000 students struggling with their mental health.

"Everyone's different, there's so many different reasons why people don't want to speak out," Lennon said. "A lot of people are lonely, a lot of people not knowing or willing or feeling that they can speak about it or knowing who to speak to. 

"But, when they do start talking about it, they actually realise there is so much help out there, and probably the person next to you might be suffering but not speaking out. So, just that conversation between two people may open many doors."

To access the Premier League's growing library of expert advice and top tips from players to support positive mental and physical health, visit our #StayWell hub.

Also in this series

Part 1: UK football family reaffirms commitment to mental health
Part 2: McAtee: Team-mates can help your mental health
Part 4: Mertesacker: Wellbeing support is crucially important
Part 5: Mertesacker: We need to be able to express our feelings
Part 6: Premier League managers unite to tackle suicide
Part 7: Ruddy: Mental health project helps people let off steam
Part 8: Kemp: Opening up helped my mental health
Part 9: 'Saints Foundation has been a lifeline for me'

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