James Coppinger on his open door policy over mental health at Doncaster Rovers

James Coppinger says he has an open door policy for his Doncaster Rovers team mates when it comes to mental health.

Sunday, 9th February 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 12:29 pm

Rovers’ all-time record appearance maker has long been an advocate of highlighting mental health issues in football and beyond, having suffered with gambling and alcohol issues during his time with Exeter City.

Coppinger was speaking about the issues as part of the EFL’s Heads Up campaign alongside charities Mind, CALM and Sporting Chance, which aims to encourage people to speak out about their own struggles and offer support to others.

And he says he is always available to speak to the rest of the Rovers squad, should they need to open up.

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James Coppinger
James Coppinger

“I think some would come to me because they know my experiences,” Coppinger said.

“Others probably wouldn’t out of fear of ‘should I say that, shouldn’t I?’

“But I have made myself open. People know that I’ve been through certain things and I’m not ashamed of talking about things like that.

“I’d like to think people would come to talk to me.”

Coppinger praised Rovers’ club chaplain Barry Miller for playing a prominent role in helping players when necessary.

“We’ve also got the chaplain there as well, who plays a big part in speaking to people,” he said.

“Barry is really good at speaking to people. He’s had meetings where he’s made people aware that if there’s anything the lads want to speak about, they can go to him in confidence.

“We have got people within the club that do take that role.

“In his own role Barry has taken responsibility and he’s been happy to do that. He’s done that a few times.

Coppinger encouraged others to talk about any issues they are having and says it will make a real difference.

“It was a massive part of my life in terms of speaking out and seeking help,” he said.

“I know how much of a difference it can make when you do that.

“I think it’s hugely important that we in football especially talk about it and get it out in the open and make people aware it can change by talking.”