The power of football has always played a huge part in the life of Simon Ryecroft, acting as a coping mechanism for him to deal with his depression and anxiety.
Simon is a regular participant at Tranmere Rovers in the Community’s Active Rovers Over 40s football sessions. He has, by his own admission, benefited significantly, both mentally and physically, from participating in the weekly sessions at Prenton Park.
Speaking to raise awareness for World Mental Health Day 2020, Simon wanted to share his story of having a mental breakdown, and how Tranmere Rovers helped in his road to recovery.
He said: “I hadn’t played football for a long time, but I saw on social media about the football sessions. I went along to give it a go and I have never looked back. That is now over three years ago.
“Time has flown by. I had a breakdown and a depressive episode four years ago. I was diagnosed with PCSD, an anxiety disorder, depression and OCD.
“Mental health affects a lot of people and through my own experiences, I know a lot of men have troubles talking about it.
“I was quite ill for a period of time, but I have always been quite open about my mental health. I realised that it is something a lot of people have experienced, but I don’t always feel comfortable talking about it.
“I was surprised with how many lads I know have issues with their mental health.
“Gradually, over the last few years, it has become a subject lads are finding it easier to talk about.
“We now see famous footballers and boxers talking about their experiences and making their mental health problems public. I think sharing helps.”
Simon, who has always had a keen interest in football since an early age, admitted he is not the only one who has used football as a way to cope.
He continued: “The football sessions at Tranmere have helped me deal with my anxiety.
“A lot of lads have said the only time they feel like they have not got any problems is when they play football.”
To find out more about the support offered by Tranmere Rovers in the Community, please email email@example.com.