JONATHAN Trott should be admired for speaking out about his personal problems – that’s the verdict of former Lancashire, Durham and England cricketer Graeme Fowler.
Trott has flown home from the Ashes series after revealing he was suffering from a stress-related illness.
And Fowler, who was diagnosed as suffering from clinical depression in 2004, says that the England star has shown real guts to be so open about his problems.
“He has been very brave to speak out about his problems,” he said.
“I don’t know his personal circumstances or what he is dealing with exactly, but I’m guessing it has been immensely difficult for him.
“He has been trying to cope with it, but now appears to have got to the stage where he realises he can’t carry on as he had been.
“I guess he will have replayed his actions a thousand times over in his mind before coming to his decision.
“Once he has spoken out he knows he is no longer a part of the England team, whether that be temporarily or permanently.
“Hopefully, it’s temporarily, but he has to go away to try to get better.”
While Fowler suffers from clinical depression, he is keen to point out that is not necessarily what Trott is going through.
And he says people have to realise that there is no one size fits all remedy for any mental illness.
“Some people have triggers, some people don’t,” he explained.
“Everyone is different. There doesn’t have to be a reason for someone to become depressed. and just because Trott has a great job does not mean he can’t be depressed as a person.
“I had a great job and a wonderful family, and a good life, but I just fell into a deep hole of depression and needed help to get out of it.
“Trott needs to know that people are there for him and that he has the support he needs.”
As well as getting that support from family, friends and team-mates, Trott will also have the backing of the English Cricket Board (ECB) and the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA).
And Fowler believes both organisations are playing a proactive role in dealing with mental illness with the sport.
He said: “In recent years, the ECB and PCA have done really well in dealing with the issue.
“I have spoken to a number of cricketers about the issue for the PCA, but where they have been brilliant is that they are now going out to interview people like my wife Sarah to see how they deal with it, and what signs if any they look out for.
“When I was first diagnosed I had a young family, and I couldn’t explain to them how I was feeling.
“My young daughters wanted to know how I was, so I used a scale to explain to them.
“If I was feeling a 10 that was neutral, 10 to 20 was a good day, and below 10 was a bad day.
“That way they knew what kind of day I was having and if it was below 10 my eldest who was eight years old at the time, would say do you want me to sit with you daddy or do you want me to leave you alone?
“I think it’s important that the people who are ill get support, but also their families.”
Fowler, who heads the MCC-sponsored Centre of Excellence at Durham University, has hit out at the comments from Australian David Warner that Trott dismissal in the first innings of the Brisbane Test was “pretty poor and weak”.
Warner’s comments were made before Trott’s revelation, and while Fowler says that will have had no bearing on the English batsman’s decision to return home, he felt they were unnecessary.
He added: “It is sadly what we have come to expect from Warner, a crass comment. I don’t think it will have affected Trott, but players shouldn’t be commenting like that about fellow professionals like that in public.”
Trott is the latest in a line of English cricketers to reveal he is suffering from a mental illness, with Marcos Trescothick and Michael Yardy speaking publicly about their problems in recent years.
And Fowler added: “You don’t want to see anyone else go through it, but if bringing the issue to the public’s attention helps then that’s a good thing.
“Hopefully, Trott will get the help he needs to deal with it, but if by speaking out, he helps someone else that is a big silver lining.”