28 October 2020

West Ham captain Gilly Flaherty talks of the ‘incredible’ reaction to her mental health experiences

West Ham captain Gilly Flaherty has spoken about the ‘incredible’ reaction to her sharing her mental health experiences.

As part of the ‘Time to Talk’ campaign Flaherty spoke about how she reached a low point and took an overdose as a teenager. 

She said: “We released the story in support of Time To Talk earlier this year. We had such a great response from that, and then it all died down a bit. But with Squad Goals [a BBC documentary] coming out, it’s brought the conversation back and it’s had an even greater response again.

“I’ve had people I consider celebrities message me on social media and reaching out. One woman sent me a voice-note on Instagram, and she just started crying. She had been going through her own tough time and we got to talking. You don’t realise the impact it can have. 

“I just wanted to help one person, but the impact it’s had has been incredible.”

And she added she sometimes feels ‘lonely’ being captain.

“Being a captain is more than just being vocal or being loud. People might see the role and think it’s just wearing an armband and lifting trophies, but there is so much more to it. 

"There’s a lot of stuff away from the pitch that people perhaps don’t see. It’s a tough job at times and it’s a lonely place sometimes, but I do enjoy it. It’s not that a captain does certain things, it’s the person doing those things that is a captain. 

"It’s down to the person, the individual. It is thanks to West Ham that I’ve really developed into this captaincy role. I’ve loved every minute of my time here and it’s felt like home since the first time I stepped foot in here.” 

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