Eight years ago, former Germany keeper Robert Enke committed suicide.
Per Mertesacker, who played with Enke when the two were at Hannover, remembered his former teammate in a blog post for the Robert Enke Foundation.
He recalled how Enke helped him ease into life a first team player and develop as a young player.
“He came from Spain, where he played for Barcelona, when he was 27. From the beginning he made me, the rookie, feel appreciated,” Mertesacker said.
“He gave me his trust and helped me develop as a young defender.”
Enke was in contention to be Germany number one goalkeeper at the 2010 World Cup before he took his own life on the 10th of November 2009.
He had been suffering with depression for six years and was receiving treatment from a psychiatrist.
Mertesacker said he learned a lot about depression and believes people must work harder to combat it.
“Many people want to hide when they are suffering from depression.
“I understood that Robert spent most of his life the way I met him: rational, happy and healthy.
“With his death, Robert gave us the task to better combat mental illness.”
Enke played for Borussia Monchengladbach and Benfica before joining Barcelona in 2002.
He returned to the Bundesliga in 2004, where he played with a young Mertesacker.
Mertesacker had just emerged into the Hannover first team from their youth academy and having his first season as a regular starter.
The two played together for two years before Mertesacker moved on to Werder Bremen.
The Robert Enke Foundation was formed upon Enke’s death, and aims to help players with their mental heath.