PFA issues mental health advice

    Story highlights

    • The PFA have sent 50,000 members advice on coping with mental illness
    • The decision comes in the wake of Wales' manager Gary Speed's recent death
    • It is unclear whether Speed was experiencing depression or any mental illness
    • The guide was issued to current professional players in July
    The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), a body which represents soccer players in England and Wales, has sent ex-professionals a guide on how to handle mental health issues following the death of Wales manager Gary Speed.
    Speed, who made over 500 appearances in the English Premier League during a 22-year playing career, was found dead at his home on Sunday, sending British football into mourning.
    Although it is not known whether Speed was struggling with depression or any mental health issues, the PFA, which is linked to a similar body in Scotland, has taken the step of making "The Footballers' Guidebook" available to 50,000 former players.
    The guide, which includes comic strip style drawings and case studies from former players, was sent to current players in July.
    "Whether you're a king, a prince or a pauper, or a top sports star or the man in the street -- everybody is a human being and can have issues that they need help with," PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor told CNN.
    The issue of depression in football was highlighted by the death of German national team goalkeeper Robert Enke, who took his own life in 2009 after a long struggle with the illness.
    Agent's shock at Gary Speed's death
    Agent's shock at Gary Speed's death


      Agent's shock at Gary Speed's death


    Agent's shock at Gary Speed's death 04:48
    "The PFA are going to do even more work to try and make sure that people know they can turn to somebody in such times," explained Taylor. "We've got to do all we can."
    "The death of Gary is so devastating , we've got to do all we can to make sure it doesn't happen again."
    Speed represented Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers in England's top flight, before dropping into the second tier to play for, and later manage, Sheffield United.
    The former midfielder is the most-capped outfield player in Welsh history, having played for his country on 85 occasions. As a manager, Speed guided Wales to 45th in the world rankings, their highest position.
    A minutes applause will be held before all of this weekend's English Premier League matches in honor of Speed.