Nottingham Forest player Harry Toffolo opens up about his mental health and struggles with gambling

  • ITV News Central Reporter Dan Salisbury-Jones had a sit down open discussion with Harry Toffolo at the City Ground

Nottingham Forest star Harry Toffolo has told ITV News he feared his career was over after he was charged by the FA for betting on football.Speaking for the first time about how his poor mental health led to him making hundreds of bets as a teenager, he said he wants this interview to help others.

He told ITV News Central Sports Correspondent Dan Salisbury-Jones: "There were moments throughout the betting where I thought I'm done.

"And my opportunity in the Premier League was done. So you can imagine the mental state I was in".

"It was awful. And my kids witnessed me going through those moments and it wasn't nice at all. And that's why I'm so grateful to have that family support base around me.

"The football club were fantastic."

In September football's governing body found he broke their betting rules 375 times between 2014 and 2017.

Forty bets involved his own team and two were bets on himself. The FA handed him a suspended ban and allowed him to play on. Since that news broke, his Forest career has taken off with his first Premier League goal and dominant performances.

Pictured is Toffolo, who has impressed Forest fans this season with his performances. Credit: PA Images

Speaking on his experience, Toffolo said: "It was an extremely tough part of my life, but it didn't define who I am now. It almost made me better it made me a stronger person".

"It made me better in the sense that I wanted to help others, because I don't want anybody to go through what I went through because it wasn't enjoyable for my family, it wasn't enjoyable for my wife now who was my girlfriend at the time".

"I was almost getting punished, coming back to six to nine years ago and my kids weren't even born and my son was getting stuff said at different clubs he goes to and at school that 'Your dad is gonna have to retire. You're gonna get fired. He's gonna get sacked'".

"To have that come home that was the moment I sat down at home and was like 'Urgh what have I done'. That was six to nine years ago when I was 18, 19, 20. It was almost like everything will always come back".

Now, Toffolo is an ambassador of Tricky to Talk, a mental health programme at Nottingham Forest Community Trust.

Starting in 2019, the hub acts as a fortnightly informal safe space at the City Ground where people can talk about mental health and wellbeing.

Now the group aims to be a safe space for talking about mental health and conduct wellbeing walks and mental health awareness and suicide prevention training.

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