Norwich's Timm Klose marks World Mental Health Day by revealing his own struggles

Timm Klose in action during a pre-season friendly against Atalanta at Carrow Road

Norwich defender Timm Klose has marked World Mental Health Day by recalling how his battles with mental health saw him turn to alcohol aged just 13.

The Switzerland international is currently recovering from a long-term knee injury suffered on his first appearance of the season for the Canaries in the Carabao Cup tie at Crawley.

The 31-year-old joined Norwich from Wolfsburg in January 2016 and was a key member of Daniel Farke's squad as they won the Sky Bet Championship last season to secure promotion to the Premier League.

And, as part of World Mental Health Day, the centre-back took part in a discussion on Norwich's YouTube channel.

Klose revealed how despite a "healthy family background" he still faced issues, "not having a plan in my life what to do".

The defender said: "I ended up in alcohol. I started to drink when I was 13, I think.

"My friends were all a bit older than me so they were drinking, they were smoking, all sorts of things.

"It was a bad idea back then, but I did it."

Timm Klose's new Norwich deal will see him remain at Carrow Road until 2022.
Image: Timm Klose says he still speaks to a mental health coach on a weekly basis

Klose continued: "I always wanted to become a footballer, and I was in the youth team of FC Basel.

"But at the end of the year, I struggled in school.

"I got kicked out of three schools and I was drunk most of the time. During breaks in schools, I went to smoke.

"I was just in that 'world of dreams' always, I was not really there."

After telling his coach he was taking a step back from the game to set him "free", Klose began thinking he was "going to fall back in that hole", so started drinking again and smoking more.

He recalled: "I had one night where I almost had a heart attack, where I ended up on a park bench somewhere close to a lake, I don't know where it was.

"I was alone and I woke up in the morning all by myself, a bit wasted still, and then I was like, 'OK, now I need to wake up actually'."

Klose met his wife when they were around 16, was able to work things through with her, and eventually moved to German club Nurnberg.

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However, his mental health issues resurfaced as he struggled with negative comments on social media, before he "shut down completely", not wanting to "appear weak".

After trying to block everything out - which included a routine of playing the FIFA video game until 4am - he eventually found support through a mental health coach, to whom he still speaks today.

"We talk every week," Klose said.

"It's good to talk to a neutral person. [Someone] who is completely neutral, who won't judge you, who won't give you that 'everything's going to be okay'."

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