Notts County defender Matt Tootle has spoken openly about his personal struggle with gambling addiction.
Posting on Twitter, Tootle wrote: "I've been a compulsive gambler for as long as I remember and it has brought to me some of my worst memories.
"This problem is rife in football and something needs to be done about it and I'm hoping to also help with that now."
During Mental Health Awareness week last year, Tootle had spoken about getting his career back on track after struggling with mental health problems – yesterday he took to social media to speak of the importance of being ‘open and honest’ about mental health.
"Many times I have tried to quit and been unsuccessful and almost lost loved ones closest to me who tried to help," he said.
"It's an illness and until you decide you actually want to help yourself you will never get over it.
"I'm now one month clean from betting and I'm proud of it. On top of my mental health, I understand I'm a complicated character, but one thing I'm sure of is my strength deep within which makes me never give up in any walk of life.
"I think the best thing I have ever done is be open and honest about my mental health.
"I feel prouder than ever about how I came through the darkest days and be able to help others, which is why I feel I need to be open and honest for the first time about another problem that has been part of my life since I was 16 years old."
PFA Head of Player Welfare, Michael Bennett has welcomed Tootle’s brave decision to talk about his addiction: “We would like to commend Matt on his achievement of becoming gambling free and in talking so openly about his struggles with mental health.
“We would encourage any PFA member who is worried about their gambling or any other aspect of their wellbeing, to contact the PFA and access the expert support that is available.”
The players’ union has been providing support for emotional wellbeing and addiction for over 14 years and now has a 24 hour helpline underpinned by a national counsellor network, this is in addition to the residential support offered via the Sporting Chance Clinic.
The Sporting Chance Clinic is one of the world's most innovative centres for the treatment of behavioural problems and is now an integral tool for our members. Set within the private grounds of Forest Mere, the clinic provides a safe, dedicated environment, where sportsmen and women could receive support and counselling for the kinds of destructive behaviour patterns that exist in the world of competitive sport.
Getting support via the PFA…
The PFA provides members with a 24/7 counselling telephone helpline. This 'round-the-clock' support is available to all members past and present.
All services are private and confidential, PFA members (or concerned friends and family) can contact the PFA:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- PFA Members can call the 24hr Counselling Helpline: 07500 000 777