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World Mental Health Day: Barnsley Manager Daniel Stendel

10 October 2018

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As part of World Mental Health Day we'll be speaking to several people across the footballing world - here, Barnsley Manager Daniel Stendel discusses past experiences and the importance of raising awareness...

"I think it is important that the focus is on the mental stress that the professional players have, because in the last year or so it has become difficult for players." Stendel began when asked about mental health within football.

"It is important that the public become aware and that they understand that there is more than one problem out there. It’s good that the EFL are supporting this and creating more awareness for people to talk."

A contributing factor within all professional sports, not just football, is the expectation to be at your very best, day-in-day-out. Whether in the sporting world, or everyday life, that is simply not possible and it can had an adverse effect. 

Stendel continued: "It’s really important to have a view and to help the players, because it’s all about competition and results, but also they are humans. You can't forget they are human, you can’t just see the professional player.

"Nevertheless, it is not easy for me because I am the manager of this team. It is difficult for the players to show a weakness to the manager. I am lucky because I have good staff around me and a sports psychologist who can be the go-to person if need be. Every Club can play their part in this problem."

Stendel joined Barnsley in the summer with the Club hoping to adopt a different approach on the pitch. However, off of it, the 44-year old has a proven track record of dealing with adversity, particularly in the mental health field.

In tragic circumstances, Hannover goalkeeper and German international, Robert Enke, committed suicide in 2009 after struggling with mental health problems. Stendel was a youth coach at the Club at the time...

"It is a really big story in Germany because before that situation happened, it was a taboo subject and it took a long time to process and deal with that.

"A big step towards the future was the creation of the Robert Enke Foundation, which is the first place you can go to for people who have problems or depression in their surroundings or in their job, so in the future it is not a taboo topic for them.

"In this moment, when he died, there was a lot of focus on mental health but then everything until today has happened as normal and not really changed a lot. In my opinion it is a difficult topic but at least there is a start, you can feel you are not alone and that there is help now."

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