25-year-old Newcastle star opens up about his struggles ahead of World Mental Health Day

Mental health is a massively important topic for me so when I see players from my beloved Newcastle United getting involved in mental health-related campaigns it warms my heart.

However, hearing my heroes open up about their mental health struggles breaks my heart, but also goes a long way to humanising these idols.

Today Newcastle United posted a video on their official site of Dan Burn and Sean Longstaff taking part in a Football Talks session put on by NUCASTLE, the Newcastle United Foundation. These are mental health workshops put on by the club to help fans with their every day struggles.

Not only did Burn and Longy turn up and chat to the attendees, they also spoke about their own issues with mental health.


Newcastle United - Sean Longstaff

Sean Longstaff recalled spoke of the dark time in his career.

“It was really tough. It got to a point really where there’s part of me that obviously wants to play and you love football, but there was a bigger part of me that didn’t want to come in every day and play football.”

You don’t have to be a Newcastle United historian to know what period that was. Longstaff looked to be on his way out of Newcastle under Steve Bruce, his career in tatters. When Eddie Howe came in things changed dramatically for Longstaff and the North Shields lad cemented his place in the first-team and Newcastle looked considerably worse off without him in the side.

Former Brighton defender Dan Burn has also battled the demons and he told NUFC TV about the dangers of social media, especially for those in the spotlight.

“It’s hard when you’re in that negative headspace because you don’t actually realise that you’re in it and you think that some of the things you’re worrying about and stressing about don’t matter or have an impact, but they do.

“Now when I look back on times when I was struggling, I can’t believe that those thoughts were even going through my head.”

Social Media is an absolute toilet sometimes. Look at the stick Bruno Guimaraes was getting earlier in the season which forced him to bite back online before removing his post. There’s been a similar reaction to Sandro Tonali online after Sunday’s game.

It’s far too easy to forget that these are real people on the other end of those posts. You might think they aren’t going to see it so you can say what you want to look big or clever, or just to get that online clout, but chances are they will see it, and if they don’t someone else could point it out to them.

Now imagine that’s you, being told by 1000 people that you’re worthless and saying you should die or whatever, because there’s apparently no room for nuance online.

Footballers are people too. Yes, they have a lot more going for them in terms of having money and the opportunities that are afforded to them than most people, but the mental health demons don’t care about any of that. If they want to torture someone with negatives, they will find a way.

So let’s not add fuel to the fire and remember to be kind. Today is World Mental Health Day, so be extra mindful of what you’re saying and to whom you are saying it.

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