If you notice any of these warning signs, encourage the person to talk about their feelings and to listen to what they say. Asking questions can be a useful way of letting a person remain in control while allowing them to talk about how they are feeling.
Although talking to someone about their feelings can help them feel safe and secure, this might not last. As a result, it is important to make sure that they have a supportive environment and have a plan about what they will do if they start to feel bad again. If you are not happy that they will be safe, you may need to take further action. There will likely be an emergency mental health team in your region. It can be challenging when the affected player does not wish you to disclose their problem to others. If there is an immediate danger, make sure they are not left on their own!
The support of their teammates and peers can be very helpful – where possible encourage the player to confide in trusted friends or family.
It will probably require long-term support to help someone overcome their suicidal thoughts. If someone who has previously been diagnosed with a mental illness has suicidal thoughts, contact a member of their care team or the clinic where they were being treated.
Prof Astrid Junge
Professor of Prevention and Sports