Interview

'We must take the chains off and start talking'

When Hector Bellerin saw Danny Rose recently open up about his battle with depression, he could only applaud the England international's honesty and bravery.

Our right-back feels that footballers need to start speaking out more and push the issues that most affect them, and this is what he told Arsenal Media:

on why more footballers don’t speak out…
There’s all sorts of issues. I feel like the football industry is an industry where we have to be really quiet and play. I think the code around it is that footballers can’t really do anything else other than kick a ball. This is kind of the stereotype, so when there’s a footballer who’s stepping out of the box he’s always seen as someone that is not focused enough on football because he’s doing this, he’s doing that. As I always say, we have so much time and we’re humans so we have issues and worries. We should push these things. I think in America they’re more advanced in terms of these things. A lot of players have come out talking about mental health for example. This has always been something that has been very taboo to talk about, especially for men. After that, I know that Danny Rose had to talk about it. All these issues which, back in the day there was a stigma for men to talk about it or there was a stigma as a group of people, as footballer to talk about these things, it’s important that we take these chains off and start talking about it moving forward with an open mind.
 
on whether talking about it now will have a domino effect…
If you put it just that way, Imagine there’s a kid out there who’s not happy with himself. He’s not a kid, a teenager and he knows that he’s got an issue but he’s scared because he doesn’t know what his family or friends are going to think about him. Then a player who he looks up to, like Danny Rose, raises this issue, it’s probably going to give this kid the push he needs to get out there and talk about it. From there, hopefully he can then be back in the best health he can, and move forward from that issue. There’s so many people like that who don’t actually know they even have an issue until they can put two and two together by thinking, ‘Oh this guy has said this, maybe I have the same problem, maybe I should talk about it and maybe I should solve it’. There’s so many good things and positive things that come with raising problems and actually showing people that we’re humans. We’re not machines, we’re good at what we do, we have talent and we work really hard but sometimes it feels like this is all we do and our life is just playing football. It’s not. We’re humans, we have a life, we have families and we have problems, worries, and it’s important to speak about them to get people to relate to ourselves as well.

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