BACK IN April last year, Bath legend and former England prop Duncan Bell announced his retirement from rugby. Nothing special about that of course, tens of players hang up their boots every year. It was what he did next, however, that was as brave, if not braver, than taking that first hit in the front row hundred of times over a distinguished 19-year career.
He disclosed to the rugby world that he had been suffering from depression, on and off, for the best part of a decade.
Despite Bell’s fears, the response was overwhelmingly positive from the rugby family and the wider public.
In the eight months that has past, Bell, has kept his hand in with rugby, as coach of Lydney RFC, but he is no longer a professional rugby player feted on the stands of The Rec. He is slowly adjusting to civilian life.
In our February issue he opens up to Rugby World with his long time friend, ex-teammate and member of the front row union, David Flatman, about the pressures of professional rugby and why the onus is on friends and family as much as those suffering mental health problems to start talking. Most importantly, with lashings of humour, Bell looks forward to the future with hope.
The February issue of Rugby World is on the news stand from January 3rd.
Start your conversation about mental health at Time to Change.