EVERTON star Aaron Lennon has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act after a 20-minute stand-off with police at the side of a busy road.
The midfielder, who has not played since February 11, was picked up by cops in Salford, close to the M602 on Sunday.
It is believed police officers approached the ex-England midfielder and negotiated with him for 20 minutes before taking him to hospital over “concern for his welfare”.
Lennon, who has 21 Three Lions caps, was detained roughly 30 minutes after his side lost 3-0 to Chelsea at Goodison.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “Police were called at around 4.35pm on Sunday, April 30, 2017 to reports of a concern for the welfare of a man.
“Officers attended and a 30-year-old man was detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act and was taken to hospital for assessment.”
The 30-year-old is reportedly being treated in Salford Hospital where he will be examined by doctors at a mental health unit.
He could be held for up to 72 hours while medics undertake checks and arrange for future treatment after being sectioned under the mental health act.
An Everton statement has since reported that the former Leeds player is “receiving care and treatment for a stress-related illness”.
It added: “Thank you for all the kind messages for Aaron.
“We are supporting him through this and his family has appealed for privacy at this time.”
Lennon’s representative, Base Soccer Agency, tweeted: “Everyone at Base Soccer sends their support to @AaronLennon12 – get well soon and stay strong.”
What is Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983?
EVERTON and England star Aaron Lennon has been detained by cops under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.
- Originally introduced in 1983, the Mental Health Act gives police the power to detain individuals against their wishes if they fear the person needs mental health care or may be a risk to themselves or the public.
- The action of invoking the Act is often informally known as “sectioning”.
- It allows police to take a person to a place of safety – for instance a friend or relative’s home, a hospital or police station.
- They are almost always examined by doctors at a mental health unit and can be held for up to 72 hours while future treatment is arranged.
- Lennon’s football club Everton said he is “receiving care and treatment for a stress-related illness”.
There has been an outpouring of support on social media for Lennon since news spread of the stand-off close to a Manchester motorway.
Boxing legend Frank Bruno, who has had his own battles with mental health, said: “Thoughts r with Aaron Lennon today, stay strong & as positive as possible,there is light at the end of tunnel u will get through this boss.”
Former England cricketer and Ashes hero Freddie Flintoff, who has spoken openly about suffering with depression, tweeted: “Lots of love and wishes @AaronLennon12 another cruel example of how mental illness can affect anybody, get well soon x #TimetoTalk.”
Former West Ham and Man City star Trevor Sinclair posted: “Thoughts with @AaronLennon12 right now. Let’s support and not judge.”
Ex-Liverpool and Aston Villa striker Stan Collymore, a passionate ambassador of mental health causes, said: “Thoughts and love with Aaron Lennon and his family right now.
“I know that place, and I know he’ll be fine with good support from us all.”
And ex-Villa forward Darren Byfield: “Hope Aaron Lennon will be OK and gets the help he needs.”
While his old club Spurs wrote: “Get well soon Aaron, we’re all thinking of you.”
Lennon joined Everton permanently from Tottenham on the final day of the 2015 transfer window in a £4million deal.
He had previously starred for the Toffees in a loan spell that saw him become a crowd favourite with the Goodison Park faithful.
But this season he has made just 13 appearances under Ronald Koeman.
He last played in a 0-0 draw against Middlesbrough on February 11.
Aaron Lennon is currently receiving care and treatment for a stress-related illness.Lennon's representatives
Speaking back on April 4 ahead of Everton’s game against Manchester United, Koeman said that Lennon was “not in a physical way to be part of the team”.
A statement from Lennon’s representatives read: “Aaron Lennon is currently receiving care and treatment for a stress-related illness.
“The club is supporting him through this and his family has appealed for privacy at this time.”
For help with mental health call the Samaritans on 116 123