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"If you don't tell someone they won't know" - Football stars open up about mental health

PUBLISHED: 23:16 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 23:28 21 November 2019

Former Norwich City player Cedric Anselin. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Former Norwich City player Cedric Anselin. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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"Talking is one of the most powerful things in the world."

Action between Lowestoft Town FC and Billericay (light blue)
Adrian Forbes takes a throw in.Action between Lowestoft Town FC and Billericay (light blue) Adrian Forbes takes a throw in.

That was the message from former Norwich City footballer and current Norwich United Football Club manager Cédric Anselin at a discussion on mental health.

Tom Scully of Norwich City U23s. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 17/07/2019Tom Scully of Norwich City U23s. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 17/07/2019

Speakers at the Norwich City Fans Social Club event at Carrow Road on November 21 included former Canaries player Adrian Forbes, current Norwich City U23 player Tom Scully and former north Norfolk MP Sir Norman Lamb.

Norman Lamb said he is overwhelmed by the support for the fund. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodNorman Lamb said he is overwhelmed by the support for the fund. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Some 15 local mental health support groups were also at the talk.

Mr Anselin, who contemplated taking his own life in 2016 because of his depression, said: "If we can educate young people at schools to talk [about their mental health] that would help massively.

He added he stayed happy by surrounding himself with positive people, exercising and taking care of himself.

Mr Anselin, 42, from Spixworth, who is an ambassador for mental health, said it was important for anyone living with a mental health problem to open up to someone they felt comfortable with.

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But he added: "For the person on the other side, don't judge."

Mr Scully, 19, received therapy for depression and support from the Professional Footballer's Association (PFA), after signing for Norwich City's U23 team just over a year ago.

"The support I got from the PFA was amazing. It was scary at first to do therapy but it helped a lot."

He added he could see someone suffering with a mental health problem "from a mile off" due to their body language and was more aware of other young players going through what he did.

Mr Forbes, 40, who used to be a coach at the Norwich City academy as well as a former Canaries player, first spoke about his mental health after hitting rock bottom, following the end of his football playing career.

He said: "I became a very good actor. There is a difficulty in opening up, being honest and admitting you need help but if you don't tell someone they won't know."

Mr Lamb, who is campaigning for better mental health support for young people in Norfolk, said: "Having someone like Adrian or Cedric talk about what they went through makes a easier for a teenager to talk."

For support contact the Samaritans on 116123.

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