The Mental Well-Balling Podcast


Half-Time Talk: Mental Health United

Welcome to the first in a new series on the podcast, Half-Time Talk. We'll be having shorter conversations about mental health and football away from the professional game. 

In today’s episode, we’re speaking to Tim Allen from Mental Health United, who talks us through a project that aims to provide a safe space for those with mental health struggles to play football. It’s a fantastic initiative that Tim has big hopes for. 

Follow the podcast on Twitter and Instagram @WellBallingPod, follow me on @K_AndrewsPhotos, keep safe, keep well and keep talking about mental health.

More Episodes


S2, Ep2: Jake Forster-Caskey

Season 2, Ep. 2
We’ve got another fascinating guest for this episode of the podcast, who has been through some incredibly tough struggles over the past three years. Jake Forster-Caskey is currently recovering from a second ACL injury, suffered at the end of a season in which he felt he had found his peak again after recovering from the first.It was actually Jake who encouraged me to get the podcast going again and call it quits altogether after the first series. Walking around The Valley’s pitch during the final game of last season, just after I had photographed him receiving his deserved POTY trophy, he asked about being interviewed for the podcast. That was an opportunity I couldn’t pass down.It’s obviously taken some time for the interview to take place while Jake has gone through some of the more difficult stages of his recovery, but the strength he is showing at present to deal with the process he’s going through is incredible and shines through during our chat.We talk about how signing a pro-contract at 14 meant that his first exposure to pressure and criticism was particularly tough to take, as well as the support he received from his ex-professional father and step-father at the start of his career and his perception of mental health and its status within the game. Although, of course, much of our chat is centred around his injuries. We discuss the challenge of coming to terms with that first injury, how isolating an experience it is being outside the football bubble and being isolated from your teammates while you grind through the recovery process and how returning to training and kicking a ball around again is actually the toughest part of the process. We also look at the importance of having alternative focuses during the recovery process, how the experience of that first injury has led to him being able to manage the second one more efficiently and with less anxiety, and the strength required to overcome the down days that you can only expect to exist through a challenging journey of recovery.If you’re new here, follow the podcast on Twitter and Instagram @WellBallingPod. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @K_AndrewsPhotos, and most importantly of all, keep well, keep safe, and keep talking about mental health.

Series Two, Episode One: Alex Gilbey

Season 2, Ep. 1
Well then, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Welcome back to the Mental Well-Balling Podcast. A podcast in which football’s association with mental health and wellbeing is explored with the help of a guest from within the professional game.Things are going to be a little different, but only a tiny bit. It will no longer be weekly, and episodes will simply be released when opportunities arise and interviews have been recorded. Less pressure and hopefully content that isn’t rushed. We’ve also got a nice new graphic. I’d love to say I put some effort into that, but Canva is a lifesaver. It’s a bit brighter and hopefully gets across the style of the podcast a little more effectively. It views mental health positively. We get that positive message, particularly around the notion of self-realisation, overcoming moments of self-doubt and pushing forward, from our first guest of the new series, Charlton Athletic midfielder Alex Gilbey, who was kind enough to speak to me after recovering from a nasty battle of Covid, while also managing his recent entry into parenthood and a gold addiction. Among other themes, we chat about the regret he has over his attitude through his childhood despite making it as a footballer, coping with being the relegator – suffering three relegations in three seasons with three different clubs – how his relationship with Conor Washington has helped him throughout his career, the importance of having unity in dressing room and what that means of both mental wellbeing and performance, and how he suffered a crisis of confidence during the first six months of his time at Charlton and his success in overcoming that. Alex spoke excellently, being both really open and offering some great insight into some of the more nuanced elements of professional football. I hope you enjoy our chat. If you’re new here, follow the podcast on Twitter and Instagram @WellBallingPod. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @K_AndrewsPhotos, and most importantly of all, keep well, keep safe, and keep talking about mental health.