Former Liverpool full-back Jason McAteer has opened up on the emotional process of making a hard-hitting LFCTV documentary.
The interview came to mark World Mental Health Day, where McAteer discusses his own battle with depression, which came following his retirement in 2007 and something he wrote about in his autobiography.
“I felt I was living a bit of a lie saying everything was OK at the end of my career, that I fell into the media and all the time on my hands was brilliant when really it wasn’t,” he explained.
“I felt I had a bit of a duty to speak out and tell the truth, but also it was speaking for a lot of other former players of my generation who were finding it difficult to finish playing football.
“It’s like a light switch – one day you’re going in and playing, with 25 mates, with direction and drive, games to look forward to and focus on, and living in a world full of adulation and fame to an extent.
“It stops; it literally stops the next day. There is no training to go to, there’s nothing to focus on and there are no games. It was just a really difficult time.”
McAteer hopes his hour-long new documentary, Through the Storm, can raise awareness of mental health problems and remind those who are struggling that help is always available.
“The world is changing and the demands are changing,” he said.
“Kids are growing up in a world where everything is really quick, with peer pressure. Although it was there before, it’s more so now because of social media. It’s phenomenal pressure.
“For middle-aged men, there are demands – in some cases – just to put food on the table. People in jobs have deadlines to meet. You might have a problem in your personal life.
“But there’s always an alternative and the alternative is to speak to somebody and get help – because it’s out there.”