Players need to open up about mental health - Gus MacPherson

Gus MacPherson
Gus MacPherson has played and managed in Scotland since the 1980s

Queen's Park head coach Gus MacPherson believes it is vital that football clubs have a facility for players and staff to speak about mental health.

MacPherson, 49, has been on a mental health course run by the Scottish Professional Football League Trust.

"The course itself is just making you aware of signs, signals that you may see in individuals," MacPherson said.

"Emotional intelligence is the key for me; that you can look and see young guys change in front of your eyes."

As a player, MacPherson had spells at Rangers and Kilmarnock and moved into management with St Mirren, going on to be the boss at Queen of the South then Queen's Park.

"While this course was going on, I could think of players in the past, players currently within the dressing-room that we've got at the moment, that these things are factors," MacPherson explained on BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound.

"There's more issues now and there's stronger issues and the players need to trust their manager or whoever.

"It might be the captain, it might be a senior player. It might by the physio, it could be anyone, the kit man, but they need to talk, they need to open up and it's the hardest thing for them to do because, if it's relayed in the way that we all want to do to help that individual, it's breaking the ground to do that and that's the key part of it.

"Every club should be aware that there will be one person - it might not even be in the dressing-room, it could be within the football club, it might not even be within the football department, it could be above the football department - that these signs should be made aware of.

"If you see the signs, do not be embarrassed to ask the question because we'll all think of somebody - 'should I ask the question?' - don't be embarrassed to ask it because it might just help that individual there and then just to seek help and that is the most important thing, getting people to communicate about it and then to seek help if required."

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