Former Liverpool and England footballer Stephen Warnock will open up about his battle with depression during a special mental health event in partnership with Edge Hill University next week.

Stephen, 40, will speak candidly about his struggle with his mental health at a public event hosted by his former school, St Bede’s Catholic High School, on Monday 24 January.

The former player, who grew up in Ormskirk, will share his story of fulfilling his boyhood dream to become a professional footballer, while also struggling to ‘fit in’ and being obsessed with his weight, which left him feeling ‘not good enough’ and struggling with suicidal thoughts.

Dr Bridget Mawtus, a mental health and wellbeing expert at Edge Hill, will join the former player and a panel of mental health experts to discuss the importance of creating mental and emotional happiness.

Dr Mawtus, who is a Lecturer in Children, Young People and Families in the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine, said: “The mental health of young people has become a major area of concern in light of the disruption that the pandemic has brought to their lives and education.

“That’s why it’s so important that role models, such as Stephen, are using their own experiences to help others and show the next generation that it’s ok to ask for help and talk to others about your feelings.

“We’re so pleased to be supporting our local community through this event and hope that guests will come away with a fresh outlook on the importance of good mental health and the actions they can take to improve their own wellbeing.”

Tickets for the event can be booked online and are open to St Bede’s students, parents and the wider community.

The evening is the first in a series of mental health events organised in collaboration between St Bede’s Catholic High School, Ormskirk mental health charity Hope Street, and Edge Hill University.

Sheila Byrne, co-founder of Hope Street said: “Our core values of hope, education, validation and inspiration will all be met at this event. We created Hope Street because I lost hope, and it was through understand why I held on to the thoughts and emotions I did, that I began to believe there was hope, and my past experiences could affect my life for the better, or worse; so I chose better.

“Hope Street deliver services the community ask for, as mental health recovery isn’t a one-size-fits-all but, at the core of the services, we provide emotional intelligence, understanding our emotions, triggers and reactions and how adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) follow and affect us into adult life if we aren’t provided with tools to process them as a child.”

Last year, Edge Hill launched a partnership with St Bede’s and former England and Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland called Make Talk Your Goal, which encourages boys and young men to open up about their mental health.

The partnership will see a team of researchers, including Dr Mawtus, evaluate the impact of the programme on its students.

Phil Denton, Headteacher at St Bede’s, said: “We’re delighted to continue our partnership with Edge Hill University and Dr Mawtus. We are also delighted to team up with Hope Street to strengthen our

community’s ability to have good mental health. This builds on our Make Talk Your Goal programme, which is being rolled out across the country.”

The Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine is one of the largest providers of health, social care and medicine education in the North West of England. We offer a wide range of undergraduate courses, from medicine, nursing and operating department practice to nutrition, child health and counselling. Whatever your subject of interest, we aim to support you through all stages of your career from undergraduate study and gaining workplace experience, through to continuing professional development and postgraduate study.