A former Premier League player sought counselling after seeing Prince Harry reveal he had done so over the death of his mother, it has emerged.
The impact of the prince’s exclusive interview with the Daily Telegraph among footballers was laid bare when the head of player welfare for the Professional Footballers’ Association revealed it had “massively” helped efforts to encourage those suffering mental health problems to come forward.
Michael Bennett, himself a former professional, told the Telegraph the ex-player approached him having also watched last month’s moving BBC documentary about Rio Ferdinand’s efforts to cope with the death of his wife and mother of his three children, Being Mum and Dad.
“I had a top-flight former player who came onto me for support last week and explained to me that, having watched the Rio Ferdinand documentary and seeing Prince Harry coming forward, ‘If these top players and people can do that, why can’t I?’” Bennett said.
“I believe the more people talk about it, the more people are going to feel comfortable about coming forward.”
Prince Harry’s Telegraph interview with Bryony Gordon for the first episode of her podcast, Mad World, ignited a national debate about mental health.
His brother, the Duke of Cambridge – who is also the president of the Football Association – as well as the Duchess of Cambridge, also spoke candidly about their own emotional wellbeing.
The three young royals did so after setting up a charity, Heads Together, to end the stigma around mental health issues.