While the chaos of a hectic Christmas fixture list has dominated the news over the past couple of weeks, there was one piece of breaking news that unfortunately showed a side to life that even football can’t solve.
A week ago, Martin Ling, now ex manager of Swindon Town FC, resigned from his position at the club because of ‘health reasons’. Following Mark Cooper’s sacking, Ling, now 49 was appointed on the 3rd of November and remained in charge of the League One side for 56 days. Having previously taken time out of the game due to depression, Swindon Town was Ling’s first managerial role since leaving Torquay United in April 2013.
Ling’s departure from football came at a time that is so often the hardest for those living with mental health problems. However, those living with mental illness know how much of a struggle it can be year round, yet it remains one of the last taboo subjects with many people struggling to speak about the subject.
Paul writes in his letter to the Romans an uplifting message to those experiencing a variety of circumstances, we can presume this included mental health issues:
‘I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love—not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!’ – Romans 8:38-39 (CEV)
Paul goes on to offer up his prayers:
‘I pray that God, who gives hope, will bless you with complete happiness and peace because of your faith. And may the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope.’ – Romans 15:13 (CEV)
For some, mental health issues come and go while for others it can be a strenuous battle. With new figures suggesting as many as one in four people are affected by mental illness, there has never been a more prudent time for us to tackle this taboo subject with an honest and heart felt approach.
If you are affected by mental illness, then do not endure in silence – turn to a friend or your local GP. As for Ling and all those living with mental health issues, we keep them in our thoughts and prayers remembering that the Lord is, ‘a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high’. – Psalm 3:3b (NIV)