Time to Talk Interview on talkSPORT

Steven was asked to be a guest on talkSPORT for the ‘Time to Talk’ day which took place on 6th Feburary this year. Across the counry, over a thousand events took place in offices, schools, libraries and even shopping centres. Big employers like Telefonica, The Professional Cricketer’s Association, AXA PPP Healthcare and Comic Relief took part and many thousands more people sat down with a cuppa and a friend for a good old chat
talkSPORT presenter, Mark Saggers introduces Steven Sylvester as a former county cricketer and now chartered psychologist. Mark and Stan Collymore are broadcasting a groundbreaking show to break the stigma of talking about mental health.

Mark starts the interview with Steven by suggesting that sport, in the right way can help people suffering from depression

Steven replies with the following

“Absolutely when you consider everyone loves sport that plays sport and those that go on to play professionally and are actively involved in sport, does them a lot of good to be involved in something that they’re passionate about.

Mark goes on to say “with that in mind, you’ve played sport at a high level and you’ve dealt with sports men and woman at that very highest level.
That combination to perhaps find out from them. and help spread the message here. We currently talk about 1 in 4 of us suffering from mental health issues; we talk about the importance of having someone close to us. It can be quite isolating at that high level of sport without having someone close to us to talk to can’t it?

Steven agrees and says,
“Its totally isolating and when you think you’re in a career where your every action is seen publically. You’re visible whether you’re on a football training pitch, or playing cricket at a country ground and everyone is watching your every move. It’s that burden of stress with everyone watching you and your every move all of the time that can be hard to deal with. That can become a pressure cooker that can lead to stress. Stress that we suffer for a prolonged period of time is debilitating and can lead to depression. Prolonged stress itself is a mild form of depression and can lead to poor mental health”

Stan Collymore interjects
“How do you deal with youngsters and men as well, as they are less likely to speak out. How do you identity and engage with these people?”

Steven answers
“I can relate easily, as I played academy football at Oxford United and professional cricket for Middlesex and Nottinghamshire, so I know what it’s like to be in a professional sport and to try and make your way as sportsman or woman.
It’s hard to get the right level of support and care, so that you can talk about what your issues are regarding selection, getting on with players, getting your fitness levels right, dealing with injury.
It becomes so difficult to find someone to talk to. I work every day in my practice with top performers across football , cricket, snooker and golf and in business looking at how they deal with their ability to get support from another person.

I commend you on this show because its ground breaking to address this stigma of mental health. To realise everyone needs this kind of care and support in an old fashioned extended family way and if we get that, what happens is young people can stop feeling separated inside. What I call ‘separation’. You feel one thing and you do the exact opposite. You live your life managing feeling one thing but doing the opposite. When you have this turmoil of feeling one and showing another, then it leads to damaging effects on your mental well being.

Steven is thanked for his time by Mark and Stan and Sue Baker from Time to Change talks about how important it is to find a professional to talk to and thanks Steven again.

Our footnote from withoutEGO on this subject is ‘always seek someone to talk to whenever you feel low or under extreme stress, whether it be from a friend, family member, colleague or your GP. Take ‘time to talk’ and if you’d like more information on where to get support on mental health issues, you can visit

http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/what-are-mental-health-problems/help-support-services

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