Mark Allen has revealed he is battling depression.

The world no.11 is receiving professional help in a bid to combat the condition, which he believes has in part developed because of the nature of life on the circuit.

"We all live out of suitcases and, for me, it's just come to a head," Allen told the Irish Mirror.

"I suppose, if I look back on certain things in my career, this has been coming for a long time. But more recently I've really felt more down than I ever have.

"Some days I wake up and I just can't be bothered, I don't have the motivation to do anything.

"It does get very lonely when you're looking at the four walls of a hotel room for most of the year.

"I've been a professional for a few years now and all I've done since then is play snooker, I've known nothing else.

"If I knew what the problem was then I would have sorted it, but I've been seeing a counsellor to see what the problem is.

"It helps to talk about how I'm feeling because when you're on the road, or at a tournament, you don't really have the chance to tell anyone how you're feeling.

"I'd say I get on with 99 per cent of the other players, but to be honest everyone has their own routines and being a snooker player is a very lonely life."

More particularly, snooker is an individual sport. Yes, the players have people in their corner but no team-mates to share the load.

Snooker is also intense. It moves slowly and although it doesn't take huge physical effort, it requires immense mental energy.

Ronnie O'Sullivan, most famously, has suffered from depression for many years. More recently Graeme Dott has also received treatment for this much misunderstood condition.

I listened last week to Geoffrey Boycott, the former England cricketer, giving his ill informed views about a player who had been diagnosed with depression. It was clear some people still think it's a case of 'just cheer up.'

That's a bit like telling someone with a broken leg to go and run a marathon.

I'm not that surprised by Allen's revelation. Down at the Championship League he was very subdued and spent most of his time while not playing staring at films on his laptop but seemingly not really watching them.

I understand he simply couldn't get on the plane to play in the Hainan Classic.

It's a sad situation for such a talented young man to find himself in. I hope he can get through it and rediscover his joy not just for snooker but for life itself.


Snookerbacker said...

I had no idea about this. Having witnessed this first hand I can confirm that Geoffrey Boycott is talking out of his backside.

All the very best to Mark on his road to recovery.

Anonymous said...

best wishes, pistol

Anonymous said...

I'm very surprised. I always thought of Mark as a happy guy, always ready to joke around at the table.

Perhaps he should find a mate to travel with him and keep him company.

Get well soon Mark.

Anonymous said...

not easy to find people who can afford time off and £ to do so, 3:02

jamie brannon said...

As someone who has experienced mental health problems, I offer my fully sympathy to Mark Allen.

It may not be a physically debilitating illness but it can affect your day-to-day functioning just like any illness, particularly at it's most severe.

Personally, have suffered more with obsessive-compulsive disorder than depression, although still experienced a low-grade depression where I was struggling for appetite, having panic attacks and general sense of apathy.

It can have negative effect on your confidence, which being a snooker player can be, of course, damaging to your prospects.

All the best to Mark.

Janie said...

Mark. we're all supporting you in this.

I've also been a sufferer for many years and it actually helps to stand up and be open abut it.

Sometimes a crowded room can be the loneliest place.

There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, although some days it may not feel like it.

Take care, remember you have the love and support of all your family and friends.

Anonymous said...


what can anyone do he will have to still live out of a suitcase.

maybe for his health giving up snooker is the only answer and find stability at home in another job.

life on the road just not suited to everyone.

kimball said...

Mark is probably not alone, the strain on the young players from
asia must be huge.

They are enormously handicapped,
socially, culturally and probably
financially while trying to make it
in a very foreign enviroment.

I got that comment concerning Li
Hang, -" he got his chans but didn't take it!"

The boy was 18!

It is no secret that most players remember their amateur career as the brightest time.

snookerbacker said...

The first step is to seek help and it must be very difficult if you are a public figure. So well done Mark, first step is achieved, tick it off the list.

Karen said...

I have had depression on and off for a few years and understand his pain. Good Luck Mark for the future and hope you can work through it.


Hi David. My thoughts and full support and best wishes go to Mark Allen in battling the depression. I am sure he will beat it in time. Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery to Mark Allen.

Matt said...

Get well soon, Mark Allen.

Anonymous said...

Get well soon Mark Allen, we're all rooting for you.


Wills said...

Gat well soon Mark, don't forget your not alone in this postition, it's happened to me and I think admitting to it is a positive step forward, having the supporters & friends around you is one the best treatments you can get;

keep strong Mark, we're all round behind you

SupremeSnooker.com said...

I want to wish Mark Allen all the very best with this.

There's still a horrible stigma attached to depression and mental illness in general, and comments such as those made by Geoffrey Boycott don't help, although I gather he's made an effort to put right any hurt he's caused.

I imagine the snooker circuit can be a very lonely place on times.
All the best to Mark and to everyone who has posted on here about their experiences with mental illness.



ben said...

im just in the middle of watching mark play stevens in the 2011 word champs. im english but i support mark because hes got heat and is one of the players that are really exiting to watch. i hope he gets well soon.

also i have a tenner on him at 20-1 and its currently 9-9 COME ON MARK!

Anonymous said...

mark allen is a relative to a close friend of mine and is a happy chap but seeing him go downhill is something everyone noticed and just wishing you a good recover from depression and after beating matthew stevens the rocket may watch as the pistol is about and kicking, Get Well Soon and Good Luck mate

Jan said...

It doesn't matter how much money you have, depression can affect anybody in all walks of life.
When you don't have the strength or desire on a daily basis to do such simple tasks that others take for granted, adds to the sadness.
Many people don't understand the condition, and my own family have said to me "people are getting fed up of seeing you like this and don't want to hear it any more !".
If only it was that simple !
All the best Mark.

dizasteroid said...

Having suffered occupational depression I know and sympathise 100%. It never ceases to amaze me how simplistic some outsiders can view it all. Mark is doing it the right way. talking about it. Dealing with it.

In my situation talking it out with certain people helped me over the hump.

Your hardest battle it often against yourself. How you win any war with is with allies and reinforcements.

You can surprise yourself.