Inside Matters: Premier League stars share advice on tackling anxiety

18 May 2023

Declan Rice among several players discussing ways to improve mental health and wellbeing

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Download Premier League Inside Matters Handbook

All Premier League fixtures from 6 to 15 May 2023 were dedicated to the #InsideMatters campaign, which reinforces the League and clubs' commitment to supporting the mental wellbeing of players, fans and those in communities.

The Premier League has published an Inside Matters handbook, featuring tips and advice for understanding and tackling anxiety, as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Download: Inside Matters Handbook (PDF; 6.4MB)

The book includes contributions from personnel at all 20 Premier League clubs.

Players including Harry Kane, Erling Haaland, Eberechi Eze, Callum Wilson, Declan Rice and Trent Alexander-Arnold feature alongside specialist club and Foundation staff and wellbeing experts from mental health charity Shout, who the Premier League has collaborated with for the Inside Matters campaign.

Listening to others

Speaking earlier this year, Rice called on fans to keep up the conversation on mental health by talking and listening to others, saying: “Everyone suffers from poor mental health at different times in their life and there’s so many people out there who feel like there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel – but all it takes is a conversation.

"It’s about having that support network and having people you can speak to.”

England captain Kane, encourages people “not to be afraid to ask for help.”

“It’s just as important to look after our mental health and wellbeing, as it is to care for our physical health," he said.

"I believe in normalising conversations to help tackle stigma and promote positive habits.”

Anyone experiencing anxiety can text the word "TeamTalk" to 85258 to receive 24/7 support from trained volunteers, supervised in real time by clinical experts from Shout, a free and confidential text support service in the UK, supported by the Premier League.

Find someone you trust

Former Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta said: “If you are struggling with your mental health try to find someone who you can trust and express yourself. Don’t hold anything in, speak out and it will help solve the issue.

"I try to help everyone as much as I can. Whether that is my team-mates or family or friends, I try to be consistent when helping others.

“Away from football, I spend time with the kids and walk the dogs, which helps me switch off and helps with any anxieties I may have.”

Tips and advice featured in the handbook focus on boosting wellbeing and supporting positive mental health in various ways, including spending time outdoors, regular physical activity, breathing exercises and talking to someone you trust.

Haaland, who has broken the Premier League record for goals in a season, explains the role meditation plays in his life: “It helps me a lot to meditate and find an inner peace. It makes me feel calm and gives me tranquillity," the Manchester City striker said.

Motivational videos

Newcastle United forward Wilson suggests watching motivational videos can help to change your mood. 

“When I get a setback, my mental strength switches on, kicks into overdrive and I always come back in a better place. I watch YouTube videos, motivational ones, and they can often pick you up and make you feel a little bit better, make you believe in yourself once again.

Liverpool star Alexander-Arnold has underlined the importance of allowing yourself adequate rest. He said: “Sleep is crucial when it comes to my mental and physical wellbeing. As part of my commitment to prioritising my mental health, sleep is one of the most important.”

Download: Inside Matters Handbook (PDF; 6.4MB)

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