Mental Health Awareness Week: Brentford’s Thomas Frank on the ‘normality’ of mental health issues

“If you don’t have any weakness, you don’t have any strength.” That is the key message from Brentford head coach Thomas Frank, speaking as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Frank is back with his family in his native Denmark, waiting to find out – like so many players, officials and fans – when and how football will return in England.

The 46-year-old had guided Brentford to fourth place in the Sky Bet Championship before the coronavirus pandemic brought a halt to the season in March.

But like everyone reacting to life in a changed world in the age of COVID-19, Frank is having to focus his attention on more fundamental matters.

Speaking in a candid interview, he reflected on how normal it is to have mental health issues, as well as the importance of football in many people’s lives in offering “something to rely on”, a factor brought into sharp focus by its current absence.

“Everybody has some weakness. If you don’t have any weakness, you don’t have any strength,” said Frank.

“It’s linked, everything is linked.

“It’s OK to have a mental health issue. Everybody has it one way or another.

“I would say it’s normal, in a way, that you have something you worry about or that you are struggling with.

“The best advice I can give is to talk to people. Talk. And don’t feel that it’s unnatural. I think it’s a strength to show weakness.”

As for his message to Bees supporters in lockdown back in the UK, Frank urged them to make the most of the good spells – something they have already enjoyed in recent seasons – when football is finally allowed to return.

“Hopefully, we can get back playing football,” he added.

“Sport is a help to a lot of people. Either they are doing it on their own or they are following football.

“They have something to rely on, it’s a big thing for them. So we are really looking forward to playing on the pitch again, enjoying the highs and lows in football, just like in life.

“Go through the bad spells and really, really enjoy the good spells and [I] look forward to seeing them again.”

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