Jonathan Trott talks to Reward about the struggles he has faced with mental wellbeing, and the lessons the workplace can take from this
In the 2010-11 Test series Jonathan Trott played a key part in England retaining the Ashes in Australia – the first time they had won a Test series there in nearly a quarter of a century. Also in 2011 he won the coveted ICC World Cricketer of the Year, in addition to being Wisden Cricketer of the Year.
However, when he abruptly left England’s 2012-13 Ashes tour after the first Test in Brisbane with a stress-related illness, England’s director of cricket, Andy Flower, bemoaned the loss of his “rock”.
Returning to international cricket in 2014, it was clear to Jonathan that there was no quick fix to his problems, and having retired from the England team, he now discusses the issues he faced with various audiences.
Jonathan talked to Reward about the struggles he has faced, and the lessons that can be learned from his experience.
What sort of struggles have you faced in your career while coping with mental health issues?
I think sportsmen who are in the media spotlight are always wary about speaking out about their difficulties for fear of being judged or criticised. I for one never really worried about that, I was more concerned about the feeling of letting my teammates down.
What encouraged you to speak openly about your mental wellness – and what has the impact been?
I just got to a point where I was unable to continue and felt I had to say something because I was not in the right place to perform for my country. In terms of the impact it’s had, it’s hard to say: I think people who have had their own challenges might feel more inclined to speak out. I hope my autobiography will help explain my personal issues and encourage others to come forward and discuss theirs or get help more easily.
What do you think employers should be doing to support their employees’ mental wellness, and open the conversation about these issues at work?
Positively, there are a lot of companies that have HR departments that are doing a good job in encouraging people to be open about how they are feeling and how their job is going. It’s still vital that people should feel they can treat mental wellness like any other condition – rather than as a taboo subject.
What is the future for the conversation about mental health issues in the workplace?
In my opinion, the government is actively trying to get more funding and support to the areas that need it and areas that perhaps need it more. There is obviously still a lot more to do. For example, in the sporting world I know there are players who aren’t confident enough to go public with some of their issues.
Jonathan Trott has just released his autobiography, providing a unique perspective on English cricket, and also offering a fascinating insight into the rewards and risks faced as a sportsman carrying the hope and expectation of a team and a nation.
After sharing his experiences for the first time with an audience at Reward Live 2016, Trott's autobiography will give a new and in-depth exploration of the mental wellness issues he has faced, and how people have supported him.
To buy a copy of Jonathan's book, CLICK HERE