Mark Selby provides update on mental health recovery: 'I’m ready for the challenge'

February 23, 2022
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Phil Haigh ✍️

Betfred World Snooker Championship - Day Eight
Mark Selby is working on his mental health struggles (Picture: Getty Images)

Mark Selby has thanked his many supporters as he battles through mental health struggle, saying he is continuing to speak to a doctor and work hard to get over the problem.

The world champion revealed last month that he has been struggling mentally for some time, tweeting after his exit from the Masters: ‘Mentally not in a good place at moment, had a relapse and trying to bottle it up and put a brave face on is not the way. I promise I will get help and be a become a better person.’

The 38-year-old has continued to play snooker as he gets the treatment he needs, competing at the European Masters this week but losing in the last 64 to Jordan Brown.

After the loss to the Welsh Open champion, Selby posted: ‘I just want to say thank you to all the kind messages and support from everyone!!! Also happy to see that I have helped a lot of people to speak out also. After speaking out I realise more people are going through it than I actually thought.

‘I am trying my hardest to come through this working with a doctor having a couple of sessions a week. It’s a long road but I’m ready for the challenge. Thanks again for the support #mentalhealth.’

Selby’s decision to speak publicly about his mental health seems to have helped him and others who can relate to his sturggles.

It’s encouraging that the world champ is continuing to be open about what he is going through and not feel like he has to keep it quiet.

Speaking after beating Matt Selt in the first round this week, Mark told WST: ‘I am up and down, there are still more bad days than good,

‘That’s what I’m working on, to turn that around. I am doing online sessions with a doctor from London. I am trying, and that’s the main thing.

‘For years I have been struggling, on and off. [Wife] Vicky said to me I should just come out and say it. I have never been one to expect sympathy from people, that wasn’t why I did it. It just got to a point where I felt I couldn’t just carry on, bottling it all up.

‘We were on the way home from the Masters, we stopped at motorway services and Vicky went inside to get a coffee.

‘I was sitting in the car, staring into space and realised I couldn’t carry on like this, I needed to get it out there.

‘If I had said it all in an interview I probably would have broken down, so I thought it was better to say it on social media. By saying it, I feel better. Half the battle is won by speaking out. There is still a long way to go and I am working on things with the doctor, so long may it continue.’

On his decision to continue on the table, Selby explained that he wants to keep playing but he has moved snooker down his list of priorities behind his own well-being.

‘I have a different perspective on snooker now,’ he said. ‘I put my health first. Obviously, I try my hardest in every match, but it doesn’t matter as much whether I win or lose. The main thing is to get myself better and get on the right track, and snooker is secondary.

‘I still love the game and still want to play, if I can still compete without feeling it’s too much mentally, then I will carry on. But I’m taking it one day and one match at a time.’

Betfred World Snooker Championship - Day Seventeen
Selby enjoyed the ultimate snooker high in May last year (Picture: Getty Images)

The Jester from Leicester spoke about the choice during the German Masters as well, telling the Sportsman: ‘It was certainly a big decision whether to carry on playing while getting some help, or to actually take a break from snooker altogether.

‘I have been speaking to a specialist since the Masters. He has asked me a lot of questions and I said ideally I would carry on while getting the help, so that’s the way we’re going at the moment.

‘And at any time if I feel it is getting too much then I will step back and have a break from the game to sort myself out. But for now, with the help, I’m carrying on.’

Selby is back in action next week in the first round of the Welsh Open against Chen Zifan.

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