Snooker professional discusses battle with depression

Snooker professional Mark Allen believes he made the right decision to go public with his battle with depression.

In an article on the BBC website, the snooker world number 12 from Antrim, revealed he had suffered with the illness before the World Championship in April. This followed pressure of being compared to snooker legends such as Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins.

Mr Allen admitted that he had become disillusioned with the game: "I didn't want to look at a snooker table."

The former World Amateur Champion acknowledges that he is still regaining his form on the snooker table. But believes enjoying the game as much as he used to will help him recover.

"I think it was right to come out publicly about my depression because there was then a lot of people who helped me come through it."

However, Mr Allen acknowledged he needs to be mindful of the warning signs that could indicate a relapse. 

Phil Johnson, a Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist, said that more professional sportspeople are coming forward about mental health issues.

He explained that self-esteem has a great deal to do with their performance, as does self-belief:

"One change that psychologists seek to support is the culture of sport to see the individual not just the performer and for the athlete to see themselves as a person first and an athlete second."