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2017: ‘I was in a very dark dark place’ – Chris Kirkland on anxiety & depression

Former Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland says social media trolls should be face prison sentences.

The ex-England international, 38, who has previously spoken of his own battle with depression, is concerned by the impact social media comments can have.

“People can be traced and they’ve got to make examples of these people – I’m talking jail sentences,” Kirkland said.

This weekend the first of two Heads Up Weekends will take place, encouraging people to discuss mental health issues.

Matches in the Premier League, Football League, National League, Women’s Super League, Women’s Championship and Women’s National League will be dedicated to the campaign, launched by FA president the Duke of Cambridge.

A number of high-profile players, including Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, have been targeted for abuse on social media in recent months and Kirkland insists tougher action is needed.

“Social media, it’s poison,” he said. “You can use it for good, but unfortunately a lot of people don’t seem to realise that.

“You’ve got people going on there saying ‘I wish you were dead’, ‘I hope your kid dies of cancer’.

“I’m talking jail sentences. That’s the only way you’re going to stop it. At the minute you can put anything on.”