Joe Bryan will never have to buy a pint in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham AGAIN. The left back’s legendary double at Wembley that famously broke Brentford’s resistance and secured immediate promotion back to the Premier League guaranteed the Bristolian a place in Fulham folklore. But it is Bryan’s bravery in openly discussing his mental health that we should be celebrating.

Bryan has opened up on this subject before and I was lucky enough to listen to him speak about the importance of sharing what’s troubling you with the Fulham family during the Fulham Supporters’ Trust’s #OneFulham campaign last year. One of our heroes is doing he bit to change the shocking statistics on male suicide by talking about his own experience. His interview with the BBC’s Kimberley Boak is powerful and demonstrates why he remains such a popular member of Fulham’s first team squad.

After the brutal challenges of lockdown, many of us are much more aware of the acute stresses of mental health challenges. The stigma attached to male mental health in particular has proved tough to break. Having elite sportsmen step forward to share that they have struggled too may encourage some of us mere mortals to confide in our friends during the tougher moments. Something certainly needs to change, because:

  • Men account of 74% of all deaths by suicide in the United Kingdom
  • The highest rate of suicide is among men aged between 40 and 49
  • Suicide is the largest cause of death of men above the age of 50

Encouragingly, more men are talking to each other about their problems – something we’ve never been particular good at. The Fulham Lillies, in promoting Joe’s words across their social platforms, have shown us what to do. Bryan might be on loan at Nice, but this is another example of why he’s a Fulham legend.

If you need support, there’s plenty on hand at Fulham. The club’s foundation has run mental health outreach for many years, whilst our fans have taken on upon themselves to walk and talk about football – led by the incredible Lee Adams. There are, of course, superb mental health charities that can provide dedicated and specialised assistant, including CALM and Mind.

Don’t keep those issues bottled up. As the Trust’s important campaign insisted, we are all your team-mates. We are all One Fulham. We are all hear to help – and by talking about it we can keep on going to the Cottage together for years to come.