A study carried out by FIFPro has found that one in four professional footballers suffers from depression or anxiety.
The organisation, which represents more than 65,000 players, has revealed that 26% of active footballers suffer from depression or anxiety.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Vincent Gouttebarge said: "Contrary to popular belief, the life of a professional footballer has some dark sides. The study becomes the basis for the international football community to develop and implement optimal strategies to protect and promote the sustainable health of professional footballers.
"Former professional footballers report more mental health problems than current players, endorsing that the period just after retirement is a critical one. We found mental illness among former professional footballers occurs more often than in other measured populations."
The study found that 36% of ex-professionals suffer similar problems, while 32% have admitted to drinking habits.