Lennon reveals he is not the only player with mental health problems

Aaron Lennon has revealed he has been approached by other players struggling with mental health issues after opening up about his own problems.

In May 2017, Lennon, then with Everton, was detained under the Mental Health Act over concerns for his welfare. The winger received treatment for what was described as a stress-related illness.

Lennon, who moved to Burnley the following January, was at Shuttleworth College on Wednesday to help launch Burnley in the Community’s Schools’ Mental Wellbeing Project.

The scheme, which has received funding from the Premier League and Professional Footballers’ Association among others, is placing mental health professionals in seven secondary schools in the area.

Lennon, who now feels fully recovered, has spoken previously of wanting to help players who are experiencing difficult times.

He said: “I’ve spoken to a couple of players. Obviously, I’m not going to name them but they wanted to know what I was going through and I gave them some advice.

“If anyone is feeling that way then they should definitely go and seek the help they need.”

Lennon has admitted not asking for help soon enough, which caused his situation to become serious. It was finally opening up that put him on the path to recovery.

The 31-year-old hopes he can be an example to children who might take advantage of the project. He said: “It’s not really about me but I’d like to think so, and for the kids (to know) it’s all right to feel that way or feel a bit low.

“Everyone knows what I went through, so once they got in touch with me to be a part of this I couldn’t wait to be involved. If you see today, it’s brilliant, and I do think it’s definitely needed.

“The fact that it gives the kids the opportunity to speak to someone, and to have someone in the schools now that they can go and talk to and feel comfortable with, I think it can only benefit them.”

Joining Lennon was Burnley defender Ben Mee, who has not experienced mental health issues personally but knows people who have.

“I’ve had friends who have had issues,” he said. “It’s around a lot nowadays and credit to Aaron for coming here and speaking in front of everyone and being part of this as well.

“It’s fantastic and it encourages people to come out and speak about it, which is the best thing to do. Hopefully, it will show that people are speaking about it and it’s not a closed subject.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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