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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Bishop for Mental Health praises PFA

Bishop for Mental Health praises PFA

The Catholic Bishop for Mental Health has applauded the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), as well as many football clubs, for their “serious” response to the rise in mental health problems in the sport.

Bishop Richard Moth’s comments came as he offered prayers for Premier League footballer Aaron Lennon following recent news reports that he was detained under the Mental Health Act.

“My prayers are with Aaron Lennon and all those sportspeople facing similar challenges,” Bishop Moth told The Universe.

“Mental health problems affect people from all walks of life – they don’t discriminate between age, profession, wealth or background.”

The PFA recently revealed that a number of players are seeking help for mental health problems as awareness of the issue grows.

Since 2012 the PFA has provided a dedicated service to help with its members’ well-being, and the numbers taking advantage of that are on the rise.

The PFA has received 11 new requests for help from members since news broke about the Everton winger earlier this month and Michael Bennett, PFA head of welfare, said that one key factor is making members aware of what is in place and the more awareness that is raised, the more people will use the service.

Bishop Moth said he was “extremely grateful” to those who have spoken openly about their struggle and praised the PFA for its efforts in addressing the issue.

“It is encouraging that the PFA and football clubs are taking this so seriously, as all employers have a duty to support the mental health of their staff,” he said.

“Sportspeople are important role models for many of our young people, and can play an important role in breaking the stigma that wrongly surrounds mental health problems.”

Read more on this story in this week’s Universe, which is out now.

This week’s Premier League fixtures:

Saturday 13th May

Manchester City v Leicester City – 12:30pm
Bournemouth v Burnley – 3:00pm
Middlesbrough v Southampton – 3:00pm
Sunderland v Swansea City – 3:00pm
Stoke City v Arsenal – 5:30pm

Sunday 14th May

Crystal Palace v Hull City – 12:00pm
West Ham United v Liverpool – 2:15pm
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United – 4:30pm

Monday 15th May

Chelsea v Watford – 8:00pm

Tuesday 16th May

Arsenal v Sunderland – 7:45pm
Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion – 8:00pm

Wednesday 17th May

Southampton v Manchester United – 7:45pm

Thursday 18th May

Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur – 7:45pm

Picture: Aaron Lennon. (Nigel French/PA).