Talking about mental health has never been so important and Matty Blair and James Coppinger have been lending their voices to the discussion in support of mental health awareness week.
Both have spoken openly about their own experience and Blair even cites talking to Coppinger as one of the things that kick started his journey to better mental health.
Speaking to the EFL as part of his On You Side ambassador role, Blair said: “I think we’re now coming into the generations of people where seeking help and speaking out becomes the norm.
“I think some people think if I go and see a councillor, does it make me weak? Do I have to be this – I’m going to use the male as an example – macho man and protect my family and so I can’t say anything? I'll say this, if you’re struggling, then you become more of a man by making it known that your struggling and your family and the people around you can support you.
“The councillor was amazing, but she didn’t make me better I made myself better, and that empowers me a lot more because I did it myself.
“My wife was absolutely superb, by family were quality but I went through the process myself and came through it myself with the help of others. Knowing that you’ve done it yourself is a big achievement when it comes to understanding what mental health is.
With the country in lockdown and with football – when it returns – likely to be unrecognisable from what we currently know, Coppinger believes it is important to try and see the positives in this period.
In an interview with Sporting Life he added: “Focusing on yourself and what you can control is something that obviously I’ve been able to do over the past ten or fifteen years.
“This is a great opportunity to build resilience. This is something like we’ve never seen before – you’re training by yourself in a strange environment and you have to treat it in the right way and see it as a positive. You can go out there, train really hard and build resilience so that when you do go back, you can recall that and use it when things don’t go your way.
“It’s important to stay positive and understand that things will get back to normal. It’s just a matter of time.”
Rovers and Club Doncaster have been working to raise awareness of mental health for a long time with innovative shirt designs, awareness training for staff, and social cafes all part of the ongoing effort.
Donny Dog even got involved in 2019 by joining up with Erik the Viking, Doncaster RLFC mascot Parky the Lion, and Alfie May to educate young people about maintaining their mental health. Click here to watch.