Mental Health Awareness Week | Michael Donohue

Michael Donohue, Everton

A very private person, speaking about one of the most difficult periods in his life has not always been easy, but Michael Donohue feels it is important to share his story. 

Getting to a stage in his life where he can discuss his diagnosis of depression and anorexia and the road to recovery has been a very tough journey. 

PFA member Donohue started as a former Everton academy player in the Premier League, however in 2017, he was released and joined Fleetwood Town. Donohue told the Echo: “At the time I was 19 so physically I thought I was ready, technically I thought I was ready.” 

However, the warning signs of the problems were starting to show. “I never really had muscle injuries, but I started picking up a few of those which felt a bit weird at the time – that was disrupting any chance I had of getting in the first-team, every time I got close I had a hamstring strain or whatever.” 

Donohue reached a point where he was training up to four times a day and only eating 1,200 calories. 

“My dad was on my case a lot in terms of my weight. It only really hit me when Joey Barton came in and told me a couple of days in that I wasn’t ready to play men’s football.”

Donohue is now back in football as a semi-professional playing with FC United. After receiving help from the PFA Charity to complete an education course Donohue is also a qualified personal trainer. 

After two rounds of counselling he feels this helped immensely, alongside learning more about training and how to fuel his body correctly. 

“Speaking to someone about exactly how I was feeling was a lot more helpful than being a bit defensive about it all.” 

“I found that counselling did help, but what helped me the most was learning more in-depth in the areas in which I was struggling. Why I needed to eat carbohydrates, protein and fats to be myself properly”

“My advice would be to just be honest with people. Once you’ve developed an awareness of it, be honest to those around you”

Wellbeing support

It is important that all former and current players, are aware there is help available during these unprecedented times. Your health and wellbeing remain our utmost priority. To access private and confidential support and services:

  • Email: wellbeing@thepfa.co.uk
  • 24hr counselling helpline: 07500 000 777

The PFA have also set up a dedicated email for any enquires in relation to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: c19support@thepfa.com