SOMERSET County Cricket Club captain Tom Abell is spreading the message that it’s OK to reach out and talk, during this Mental Health Awareness Week.

Abell has served as an ambassador for Sporting Minds UK for the last month, having been contacted by the charity’s founder Callum Lea.

In taking on the role, he joins fellow Somerset cricketers Charlie Sharland and Will Smeed, as well as England star Tammy Beaumont.

The charity provides mental health support and education for sportspeople aged 16 to 30, and Abell’s role is to spread the message.

“We’re making sure people know there are people who are available to talk to if they’re struggling, and it’s OK to reach out,” he said.

The main thing Abell has learned in his short time with the charity has been “the number of people who are having a tough time and bottling it up”.

He added: “Some people I know well have found real value in talking to people.

“Cricket has such a mental aspect that, as well as your technical skills and physical fitness, you’ve got to make sure you’re OK mentally - there’s a lot of pressure when you’re playing.

“I think that in recent times, the awareness and education [about mental health in cricket] is much improved, but it’s something that can still be improved.”

Sporting Minds is not just for professional sportspeople, Abell said, as it can offer support for people of all levels and abilities in sport.

That is important at the best of times, never mind during the coronavirus lockdown, which has made the playing of team sports like cricket impossible.

Abell said: “It’s been a pretty tough couple of months for most people - life has been so difficult.

“What has been good for me has been having a routine and adapting to the situation, making the most of the time I have for exercise.

“Life can be so full-on, but you can enjoy your downtime and appreciate what you’ve got in everyday life.”

He added: “I think it should be seen as a really positive thing to do [to reach out and talk], as you should do what is best for yourself.”

Sporting Minds UK is a registered charity that provides and promotes mental health support in young sports people. To access one-to-one support, get involved or donate, go to