‘Don’t hold it in’: Chelsea star opens up about mental health as club staff gain new training

Cesar Azpilicueta and Fran Kirby front a new mental health campaign launched by Chelsea to help fans struggling to seek help.
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Chelsea stars Cesar Azpilicueta and Fran Kirby have been applauded by fans for fronting a new mental health initiative the club is leading.

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, the Chelsea Foundation has published guidance for supporters who may be having a tough time as well as launching specialised training for staff at the club.

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The campaign was launched online on Monday with Azpilicueta and Kirby sitting down to chat about the importance of mental health from their professional perspective.

Kirby said: "I would say that no matter is too small. If you keep that inside you it will build up, I don't want to bother with that to this is a problem, this is a problem instead of just in the first place saying it.

"It's finding the right person who is there for you and if that person doesn't give you what you need, there will be somebody else."

Azpilicueta added: "I think in mental health a small thing can make you worry and struggle. It's good to speak and share your thoughts but I understand that sometimes that's difficult for people.

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"Maybe a small thing can make you worry and struggle so speak and share your thoughts, to try and get it sorted as quick as possible. Don't hold it because it can become bigger and bigger."

Chelsea fans online seeing their stars backing the campaign praised the duo for speaking out as they shared the resources with fellow supporters.

As well as posting love heart and applause emojis, one fan wrote: "Important. Proud of my club."

Meanwhile, another fan backed the campaign and labelled it "excellent content".

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Along with the video, the Chelsea Foundation has published a Feeling Blue? Five Ways Forward guide to walk fans through steps to well-being and how to overcome any mental health battles they may face.

Cesar Azpilicueta is fronting the mental health campaign (Image: Getty Images) Cesar Azpilicueta is fronting the mental health campaign (Image: Getty Images)
Cesar Azpilicueta is fronting the mental health campaign (Image: Getty Images)

This week the club will also host workshops and a tournament for 30 young children who are fighting cancer as part of the initiative.

Chelsea Foundation’s mental health lead and Chelsea Champions senior officer Jonny Drabble said: "Mental health is a vital component of Chelsea Foundation’s everyday work, however, Mental Health Awareness Week allows us to dedicate a specific timeframe to raising further awareness of this crucial subject.

"To help with this, we have produced an engaging asset that can be used across all audiences whether that be internally with staff or externally with school children or other participants. We look forward to all activity taking place this week and working alongside various partners to help anyone dealing with anxiety or mental health in any form."

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