Former Brighton and Crawley Town player Dean Cox speaks out about his mental health problems

Former Brighton & Hove Albion and Crawley Town midfielder Dean Cox has revealed he recently had a battle with depression.

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With today being World Mental Health Day he spoke about how being being left out of the Crawley Town side last season affected him.

Speaking to the Albion’s website, he said: “I think my last year or so has been well-documented, I’ve played in the Football League all my career and my last year at that level was tough because I wasn’t playing as much as I would have liked.

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“I wasn’t in the squad and my contract was running out, you then start to worry about what you’re going to do and how you’re going to support your family.

Dean Cox in action

“I wanted to change my life and it was a big worry for me – luckily my family and friends helped, and I’ve become a dad recently which has helped massively.

“I think the time I first spoke out about what I was going through was the best day because you feel like it takes a massive weight off your shoulders.”

Cox’s words follow those of Albion midfielder Anthony Knockaert, who has also revealed about his recent off-the-field battles.

The former Leyton Orient and Crawley Town man, who is now playing for Eastbourne Borough, praised Brighton’s French player Anthony Knockaert.

Harry Kewell with Dean Cox

He said: “Someone like Anthony Knockaert speaking out about it is massive because people see him as a Premier League superstar.

Knockaert went public about the effects the loss of his father and separation from his partner had on him.

He said: “People on the outside may not recognise how quickly the sport moves – I use Anthony as an example and even though he’s a professional footballer, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have feelings like the rest of us.

“He’s a human being and he’s a fantastic footballer, but things happen in life and he’s come through some really difficult times.

“Who’s to say that he shouldn’t come and speak out about those? His life hasn’t been easy, and it just shows that money doesn’t buy happiness in any walk of life. “I think it’s great he’s come out – he’s a local hero and it just goes to show that people at any level can be having problems and going through the same things as anyone else.”

Cox and Knockeart both follow on from current Crawley Town player Mark Connolly who in July broke the news about his struggles with mental health and today tweeted how the day itself is important to him.