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  • Harvey Steel

My Mental Health Experience

Mental Health is a subject very close to me, I have had friends and family who have had their struggles and so have I. I wanted to share my mental health struggles and continue to promote the awareness of mental health.

My Experiences

I found leaving school really difficult. It was the first time in five years were I wouldn’t have the same routine as my friends. I would go off on my path, starting my scholarship with Cambridge United FC and my friends would have there 10 week holiday before starting their adventure at college. In this time, I found myself not putting the effort into seeing school friends, I found myself growing further apart from them, they were off enjoying their summer doing what 16 year olds do and I was dedicated and focused on getting off to a good start in my scholarship programme.

Looking back...

Looking back now on this period, I can see how important having a network of friends around you is. You need to be able to have a balance between social life and work (college, apprentice etc.). For me I couldn’t escape the pressure of professional football, therefore I struggled to switch off from it when I came home instead I’d be constantly overthinking about things from that day.


My advice to anyone who feels they are becoming detached from friends is to reach out to them! Give them a message and see how they are. This will begin to build that support network around you to allow you to escape/ switch off from your work.

Next on my journey through my mental health struggle was a rough patch at football. Before going into my scholarship, I had envisioned how my scholarship would play out in my head. However because of this I found myself struggling to adapt to the programme as the programme wasn’t fitting with my picture I had in my head. During this time my performance level had dropped and as a result, I lost my place in the team. This lead to a feeling of frustration towards myself and others who I thought were to blame.

Looking back now…

Looking back now on this period, I can see how wrong and immature my vision of my scholarship was. I was caught up on believing everything would go perfectly smooth and there would be no bumps along the way. However, I was very wrong. Due to things not going the way I wanted them to I began looking elsewhere for the blame, thinking it was other people’s fault for my programme not going the way I wanted it too.


My advice for somebody going into any new situation of work would be to set regular SMART targets in order to allow you to keep working towards things. This will give you a chance to keep moving forward with your work and not overcrowd your thinking and lead you to constantly think about the end goal. Along with this I would look to evaluate yourself, look at what you’re doing and what you can affect, don’t look to blame other people. I was given a brilliant quote recently which has really stuck with me and I think can be used by many different people it lots of different situations, ‘control the Controllable's’. Yes, just that. Control what you can control, do not become distracted by things which you cannot control, this will only lead to a decline in your work.

The next part of journey was keeping everything inside. Losing my friends, losing my place in the team, feelings of loneliness and sadness but never telling anyone. Seeing, hearing things that only damped my sadness but not reaching out to anyone for help. Bad thoughts came and weren’t addressed. All of these things built up and built up until everything was hard to take anymore. I didn’t want to get out bed to go to football. Until finally, I spoke to my mum. I told her everything, what I’d been going through, how I’d been thinking, what had happened with friends and football and the affect it was having on me. To this day that is the best thing I’ve ever done. Getting everything off my shoulders, wiping the slate clean. My dad contacted the PFA(Professional Footballers Association) to get me some counselling and they were brilliant, within a week I was booked in to have counselling to help me get back find who I was again. My parents had a meeting with the club and explained the situation and the club where extremely supportive. The club allowed me to miss Monday morning training to attended my counsellor, they constantly offered a chat and were checking up on me regularly to make sure I was okay finding my feet again.

Looking back…

Looking back on my journey now, I can see just how important talking is. Although I didn’t have them school friends I still had lots of friends at football who I could of reached out to at any time. I had my coaches and my family also who would have been happy to talk any time. Talking was the best thing I ever did.


My advice to anyone ever going through anything is to talk, no matter how small you thing it may be. Don’t let it build up and build up, TALK TO SOMEONE! No one will ever judge you or think differently of you, don’t think you can deal with it all on your own. Since I talked to my mum everything has gone upwards and I feel so much better.

You never have to go through your struggles alone. There is someone out there for everyone. Just reach out to someone.

Helpline : Samaritans, Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.

Phone Number : 116 123

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