Belfast Telegraph

Former Northern Ireland U21 striker Billy Kee receiving treatment for depression

Billy Kee has played for Accrington Stanley since 2015.
Billy Kee has played for Accrington Stanley since 2015.

Former Northern Ireland Under 21 forward Billy Kee is undergoing specialist treatment for depression, anxiety and bulimia.

The 28-year-old has not played for Accrington Stanley this season, having confirmed in July that he had returned for pre-season training due to personal reasons.

The club has now released a statement.

"Billy Kee would like to thank everyone for their ongoing messages of support as he battles depression, anxiety and bulimia," it read.

"The striker has spoken out over the years about his ongoing issues but over the summer he has deteriorated and has been unable to return to play football for the Reds this season.

"He is currently undergoing specialist treatment and the club is doing what it can to support Billy, who has been an integral part of the side both on and off the pitch for a number of years."

Kee was previously given time off in October 2016 when his severe anxiety and depression took hold.

He opened up last year about the 'rat' of his mental health issues in the hope of helping others.

Kee, who played for Northern Ireland up to U21 level and was named on the bench for a senior World Cup qualifier back in 2009, explained how he even considered ending his own life and how he tried to put those thoughts behind him.

He told BBC reporter Juliette Ferrington: "I was low at the time and you start thinking: 'Will I just drive my car into a wall?'. I think a lot of people struggle with that. You've got to put it in a box and you've got to leave that box in a cupboard. Just leave it in a cupboard and don't get that box out. You know it's there and you can't do anything about that box but you've got to say 'just stay there.'

"Why is someone with the best job in the world going to kill themselves? It doesn't make sense.

"Depression is a serious thing and I think people do really struggle.

"It is all about education and learning about it. Everybody needs to understand a little bit."

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