Mens Team

World Mental Health Day: Gundogan and Foden discuss importance of talking

Ilkay Gundogan says he has learnt that talking about personal issues can have a positive impact on your mental health.

The German told Phil Foden how discussing problems can feel like a weight has been lifted when the Manchester City midfielders spoke about mental health as part of the Heads Up campaign earlier this year.

Gundogan’s message is particularly pertinent today - World Mental Health Day – and it was backed by Foden, who also encouraged people to speak up if they are struggling.

“I think it’s a human being thing,” said Gundogan. “You always prefer talking about stuff that is more positive.

“When it comes to mental health, I’ve learnt that talking about difficult stuff or problems, issues, makes me personally always feel released afterwards. I feel lighter."

“For me, I trusted in people to tell them my problems,” added Foden.

“Some people really struggle with speaking to someone. I definitely think I would advise people to speak up because you feel much better and it makes you happier when you bring it out and people can help you.”

In a year in which people have been forced to spend more time apart then normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gundogan also spoke about the importance of maintaining regular contact with those closest to you.

The 29-year-old’s family live in Germany, but he made a conscious effort to stay in touch with them during lockdown.

“I don’t know many people [in Manchester], apart from the people from the club,” he explained.

“I have one friend over here who I saw. During lockdown he was staying with me.

“The fact that I have spent a lot of time on my own without family and friends during lockdown just showed me how important it is to have your loved ones close to you.

“I am still not the best person in terms of communication, especially calling or Facetime, but in that time I was on the phone so much talking, especially to my parents and my brother, whose wife just gave birth to a little daughter.”

Foden admitted it was difficult not being able to see his own parents during lockdown, whilst also revealing how fatherhood has provided him with a new perspective.

“Becoming a father is special,” said the 20-year-old.

“Say you have a bad game and you see your little one smiling it makes you think there is more to life and definitely brings the best out of me.

“To always see him smiling always makes me more happy.”

“It is very important,” agreed Gundogan. “Not just in our lives, in everybody’s lives.

"That’s why I am maybe a little bit jealous of your situation because you have your girlfriend and child at home and it’s way easier than for me going home and not having anybody there.

“Sometimes, having bad games and bad moments, at home you have a lot of time to think about these things.”

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