Burnley's Aaron Lennon says he hopes speaking about mental health helps 'normalise' subject

Aaron Lennon
Lennon joined Burnley from Everton in January 2018

Burnley forward Aaron Lennon hopes speaking out about mental health issues has helped to normalise the subject.

Lennon was detained under the Mental Health Act in May 2017 over concerns for his welfare during his time at Everton.

He says he is now fully over the stress-related illness, and is keen to support others.

"Hopefully it opens the door for people to say 'I'm not feeling good'," he said.

The 31-year-old was detained after police found him at the side of a road in Salford and he says he kept his own feelings bottled up for too long.

He said: "There's probably a lot of footballers who don't want to come and speak about it but it's just normal. There's going to be spells where you probably don't feel so great and there's going to be spells where you do feel great.

"There's so much help out there and hopefully I can be an example that you might be going through a tough time but you can get back to where you want to be: enjoying football, enjoying life again."

He believes the illness was a one-off, saying: "Touch wood, I've been really good since.

"You learn a lot about yourself during those periods. I had to take a look at myself, but I've got a great family, great friends and the clubs I've been at have been fantastic.

"Everyone's different, I can see why some people might think it's a constant battle. I feel great, it doesn't cross my mind. You do look back and say, 'Wow, I can't believe I was in that place'."

Burnley manager Sean Dyche said: "It was the 'get on with it' mentality when I was playing, and we all know that's changed now.

"There's way more support out there. I think players have got more belief in the system now, there's a deeper care and attention and understanding of the challenges. I have nothing but admiration for players."

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