Everton forward Bernard believes working with a psychologist for the past year after suffering a “scary” anxiety attack has made him stronger and more confident.
The Brazilian has revealed he sought help after being concerned by a number of symptoms, including blurred vision, despite being “embarrassed” to talk about certain things.
But having spent the last 12 months having treatment he felt confident enough to go public about his mental health.
“I’ve been having therapy for the past year, I see a psychologist,” he told evertontv.
“It’s not something I previously stigmatised, but I never thought I would require this type of treatment.
“I had an anxiety attack a year ago, the psychologist really helped with this, the other professionals involved helped me a lot as well.
“The person I’ve opened up to about everything has been my psychologist and, a lot of the time, I feel embarrassed to talk about certain things.
“There were different symptoms, I had blurred vision, I’m a bit uncomfortable talking about it as it was a difficult situation, but I’m happy I’ve got through it.
“I think it’s only people who have been through such an attack who really understand the intensity, the way it manifests itself and how difficult it is.
“Also, how scary it is, as it’s so unexpected, you know?
“I sought help as I genuinely needed it. I’m stronger in all areas and have become a better person, more positive and more confident.”
The 27-year-old has become a champion of Everton’s People’s Place, a proposed mental health facility close to Goodison Park, which was granted planning permission in May.
It is a cause which has taken on greater significance after his own personal experience.
“It’s not possible to identify exactly what happened and why but today, after one year of treatment… I can really see how much I’ve matured, how much of a better person I am,” he added ahead of Monday’s trip to Tottenham.
“Today I feel grateful and happier for having gone through this. I’m even grateful for the difficulties and problems we face in life, as they make us better people.
“Now I see how much I’ve evolved as a person, as a human being, how much this has helped me in my work.”
Meanwhile, Everton Under-23s defender Jarrad Branthwaite has extended his contract with the club until June 2023.