WATCH: Bernard Opens Up About Mental Health

London clubs Arsenal and Chelsea will compete for the last domestic honour of 2019/20 when they clash in Saturday's Heads Up FA Cup final.

The showpiece occasion at Wembley has been rebranded to support Heads Up, a campaign which aims to use football as a vehicle to encourage conversation and increase awareness around mental health.

Heads Up was jointly launched by the FA and mental health initiative Heads Together at the FA Community Shield 12 months ago and following a succession of high-profile events will climax with this weekend's FA Cup final.

Everton forward Bernard spoke to evertontv last month about his ongoing psychological treatment following an anxiety attack in 2019 – and the Brazilian's fervent wish that talking publicly would inspire others to open up about their own mental health issues.


Everton forward Bernard hopes talking publicly about receiving psychological treatment following an anxiety attack last year will encourage others suffering poor mental health to seek help.

Speaking for the first time about a “scary” experience, Bernard told evertontv he is “stronger and a more positive and more confident person” as a result of overcoming his fears to undergo ongoing therapy.

The Brazilian, capped 14 times by his country, joined Everton from Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine two years ago next month.

An extraordinarily gifted footballer and popular among Evertonians, Bernard confesses he would formerly internalise personal concerns because he was “embarrassed” to speak up.


>>>WATCH EVERTONTV'S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BERNARD IN THE VIDEO ABOVE OR CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON OUR OFFICIAL YOUTUBE CHANNEL<<<

But, insists the 27-year-old, opening up about his issues has provided an enormous release and enabled him to "evolve as a human being".

“I've been having therapy for the past year, I see a psychologist,” said Bernard, a champion of Everton’s People’s Place, a proposed mental health facility close to Goodison Park, which was granted planning permission in May.

“It's not something I previously stigmatised, but I never thought I would require this type of treatment.

“But now I see how much I've evolved as a person, as a human being, how much this has helped me in my work.

“I've never publicly spoken to anyone about this... I think it would be good for this to be seen as a way of helping people to go to see a psychologist or psychiatrist.

“I had an anxiety attack a year ago, the psychologist really helped with this, the other professionals involved helped me a lot as well.

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03:47

BERNARD VISITS EITC MENTAL HEALTH FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT

Blues forward is special guest as he meets Imagine Your Goals participants.


“I sought help as I genuinely needed it, but if I'd have only known how much this professional was going to help me, not just in relation to anxiety, with the attack that I had, but in all areas of my life [I would have asked for help sooner].”

“I’m stronger in all areas and have become a better person, more positive and more confident. “

Bernard was guest of honour when Everton in the Community hosted its National Mental Health Football Championships on World Mental Health Day last October.

That, reveals Bernard, was a “special day” for him at Everton but arrived before he was ready to open up about his personal circumstances.

>>>CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE PEOPLE'S PLACE AND DONATE TO THE PROJECT<<<

Bernard’s capacity to thrill on the pitch earned him the title Joyful Legs at home in Brazil.

His outwardly sunny demeanour matched the cheery label of a footballer at the top of his profession.

And the South American insists his own experience of suffering poor mental health reinforces the truth that nobody is immune from the problem.

“We're all vulnerable to any type of situation, as we're human like everyone else,” said Bernard.

“In a lot of cases I see that people are resistant and don't seek help… they don't take medication that could help with the process.

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03:32 Sat 16 May 2020

'I WAS 25 STONE AND SELF-HARMING – EITC'S GIRLS ON SIDE CHANGED MY LIFE!'

Evertonian Vicky Harrison on how Club's official charity gave her renewed hope.


“I was taken by surprise but I've always been a person who bottled everything up and kept everything that happens in my life to myself.

“The person I've opened up to about everything has been my psychologist and, a lot of the time, I feel embarrassed to talk about certain things.

“I heard a good description from the psychologist once, he takes the boxes and puts them in the right place, and his assistance to put the boxes in the right place helps us to rebuild who we really are.”

Bernard had no prior warning over his anxiety attack.

But despite the alarm it initially caused him, the player insists he is “grateful” to have experienced the episode.

“There were different symptoms, I had blurred vision, I'm a bit uncomfortable talking about it as it was a difficult situation, but I'm happy I've got through it,” said Bernard.

“I think it's only people who have been through such an attack who really understand the intensity, the way it manifests itself and how difficult it is.

“Also, how scary it is, as it's so unexpected, you know?

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03:17

HOW EVERTON'S MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAMME HAS SAVED LIVES

Blues skipper Seamus Coleman attends Imagine Your Goals event.


“Today I feel grateful and happier for having gone through this. I'm even grateful for the difficulties and problems we face in life, as they make us better people.

“It's not possible to identify exactly what happened and why.

"But today, after one year of treatment... I can really see how much I've matured, how much of a better person I am.”

Bernard added: “I think it was the right time to talk about this.

“There are a lot of people who see us as role models and think our lives must be perfect and that nothing could affect us.

“The people watching us during matches, cheering us on, probably think these things couldn't happen to us.

“But it's good that we look after each other as it's something that could happen to people closer to us than we imagine.”

>>>WATCH EVERTONTV'S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BERNARD ON OUR OFFICIAL YOUTUBE CHANNEL BY CLICKING HERE<<<

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PEOPLE'S PLACE BY CLICKING HERE