During Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, we have been speaking to a number of sports professionals and athletes. Here we spoke with PSN Advisory Board member, Matteo Fabris, Team Manager of Juventus FC.
How have the lockdowns in Italy impacted your mental health?
In Italy, like in most places in the world, we experienced two lockdowns.
The first started from March to May 2020 and I used it to adapt mentally to the situation of being isolated in the middle of others. I tried to find and create empathy with colleagues isolated like me. I felt a responsibility towards their mental health and I tried to keep the connection with my colleagues and friends.
During the second lockdown I found myself alone and I live it as an individual experience and at the end, I developed my resilience.
What have you been able to do to support your own mental health?
I seek knowledge in reading books and use the free time to learn as much as possible to become a better man and professional.
What difference can Italian Football make to people’s mental health, whether fans or the players involved?
I really understood how football had help people to feel that life was still flowing and experience a different normality that was possible.
Coming to work to the training centre every day, which I had been doing during the two lockdowns and was the only reason that allowed you to leave home and I felt like everything was still flowing in a “new normal” way. This helped the players mental health a lot.
Is there more that Italian Football can do to support mental health?
You always have to consider that teams are made of human beings that live and develop if you take care of them as a person.
The individual relationship you can create with the people you work with are paramount and make the difference.
To your recollection, do players engage with mental health as a topic?
Every club and staff working in sports finally understood the huge impact mental health can have on sports performances.