Luke Shaw opens up on the importance of speaking about mental health

Manchester United defender Luke Shaw says it is “refreshing” to see more people having conversations about mental health.

Shaw is currently enjoying one of the best spells of his career as United’s starting left-back. He has put in consistently strong performances during this campaign, playing a vital role at both ends of the pitch.

But it was a long road back to full fitness for the 25-year-old. After suffering a double leg fracture in a Champions League tie against PSV Eindhoven in 2015, he ended up spending 11 months on the sidelines.

He has also struggled with various other injury issues since then. This season, however, he has started 23 of 27 Premier League games – a number bettered by only three teammates – despite picking up a hamstring problem in November.

Shaw says conversation is key

Speaking to adidas’s Harry Pinero (via the official Manchester United website), Shaw admitted that he has been in a bad place in the past and stated how important talking about mental health is.

He explained: “I’ll be honest, it’s been really refreshing to see that people are able and have that confidence now to come out and speak.

“Outside of football with my friends, I think if any of us in our WhatsApp group have a problem, I feel like none of us really speak about it.

“Us as lads, especially in our football industry, maybe we’ve got a lot of pride and we don’t want to speak out because we just think ‘we’ll go home, I’ll deal with it myself and maybe the next day I’ll feel better’, when it just keeps eating you up inside and I’ve felt like that before.

“I’ve been in a bad place and spoken out because I’ve been through a lot.

“So I think I tried going [down] that sort of route where I sort of built it up and dealt with it myself, and it never really works.

“So like I said, it’s really refreshing to be able to see people coming out and talking.”

Last year, United launched the IGNORED campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the importance of talking about mental health.

The initiative was created in partnership with Heads Up, a campaign set up between the FA and Heads Together.

If you, or anyone you know is struggling with their mental health, below is a list of organisations which can help:

Anxiety UK

Charity providing support if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.

Phone: 03444 775 774 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm)


Bipolar UK

A charity helping people living with manic depression or bipolar disorder.



CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably. A charity providing a mental health helpline and webchat.

Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)


Men’s Health Forum

24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email.


Mental Health Foundation

Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.



Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.

Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)


No Panic

Voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Offers a course to help overcome your phobia or OCD.

Phone: 0300 772 9844 (daily, 10am to 10pm). Calls cost 5p per minute plus your phone provider’s Access Charge


OCD Action

Support for people with OCD. Includes information on treatment and online resources.

Phone: 0845 390 6232 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm). Calls cost 5p per minute plus your phone provider’s Access Charge



A charity run by people with OCD, for people with OCD. Includes facts, news and treatments.

Phone: 0333 212 7890 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)



Young suicide prevention society.

Phone: HOPElineUK 0800 068 4141 (9am to midnight, every day of the year)


Rethink Mental Illness

Support and advice for people living with mental illness.

Phone: 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)



Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.

Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)



Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers. 

Textcare: comfort and care via text message, sent when the person needs it most:

Peer support forum:



Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals.

Phone: Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)


Featured Image Credit: Getty