Rotherham United first team manager, Paul Warne is using World Mental Health Day to further reiterate the importance of opening up in an attempt to take care of your own mental well-being.
This year’s campaign is centred on the ‘Do One Thing’ initiative, which encourages individuals – no matter how content with they are with their lives – to take a minute and do something that will benefit their own mental health.
Warne, who has always been candid and open about his early struggles as life as a football manager, has once again spoken publicly in an attempt to ensure that Millers supporters never feel like they have to struggle alone, particularly during a year which has brought about new challenges for us all.
“I could talk about this for hours couldn’t I?” Warne admitted.
“It is a big thing in today’s world, quite obviously, and it always been but it is more prevalent now – people are allowed to talk about it.
“We all have dark days, anxious days and depressed days, myself included.
“I make no secret of the fact that I drive home some days and have some really dark moments as a football manager and feeling as though you’ve let people down.
“If it wasn’t for the fact that I had a good family and backroom staff I would really struggle at times so you really need to be able to chat to people.”
The Millers boss has always persisted that he doesn’t just have an obligation to his squad to make them better players, but also to help them develop as human beings and it is that mantra which has seen an incredibly tight-knit group formed at the club’s Roundwood training base.
Players and staff are frequently reminded that the manager’s door is always open whether the issue is professional or personal and it is clear that the level of trust that has developed between the group has made for a healthy environment.
“Mental health is absolutely essential. You’re not going to have a good physical health if you haven’t got a good mental health,” Warne explained.
“When I first took over this job my mental health wasn’t great. I have told the story many times about spitting blood and losing a stone in weight and not eating. How could I have decent physiological health if mentally I wasn’t in a good place?
“I’ve had players come in here breaking down in tears in my office and another break down saying that the pressure of playing every week and trying to do well for his team and his family is a big burden to carry – and it is.Paul Warne on the importance of taking care of your mental health
“I walked around the training ground with one of my players the other day and he told me he was having a bit of a bad time and he cried and we hugged it out – although we are COVID secure here!
“These are privileged people you might say, but they are young men trying to do their best every week and sometimes it isn’t their week.”
Warne is well-aware that mental health problems can arise for anyone and is certainly not naïve enough to think that only those involved in football are affected.
The Millers boss, who is also a qualified teacher, continued to explain that reaching out to someone is the best thing you can do, no matter what walk of life you find yourself in.
“Pressure is on everyone, in every job, in every society, paying their mortgage,” Warne added.
“It’s okay not to be okay but it isn’t okay not to speak to someone about not being okay, in my opinion.
“If you’re feeling bad or if you think your friends aren’t the same chirpy person they were then try and Zoom them or something and have a good chat.
“Society is only as good as the person next to you, so please be nice to people.”
The 47-year-old concluded by reaffirming that he will always live by the mantra ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ explaining that he doesn’t see any reason that discussing your mental health with someone else should ever be a taboo subject.
“For me, it’s fine. I’ll always tell people anything they ask me all the time,” Warne admitted.
“It isn’t so much that it is cathartic, I’m just trying to share the knowledge that I feel better when I share stuff.
“I know that players feel better when they get things off their chest.
“You’ve got to be able to reach out to people. Please, if you’re having a bad time, if you’re anxious, you’re depressed or whatever the case may be, just speak to someone, it will definitely help.”