Stanley striker Billy Kee has opened up about his battle with depression which almost led to him quitting football this season.

The 15-goal hitman admitted that he went working on a building site at the back end of last year as he fought his mental health issues.

It is topical in football at the moment with Everton’s Aaron Lennon receiving treatment for mental health problems and former Burnley player Clarke Carlisle has spoken out about depression and suicide in football.

“It’s really hard and it’s something I will always have,” said fans’ favourite Kee, who is married to Leigh and father to Brady.

“I have never shied away from my problems and I will talk to anyone about it.

“It was really bad depression last year and I have had to bounce back, get myself together and get myself right, and the gaffer (John Coleman) and Jimmy (Bell) have been brilliant at supporting me.

“It’s hard as people do not realise. They look at you and think you have a good job, a lovely family but it doesn’t change the way you feel.

“I was coming into the club every day and wanting to cry and not play football. That’s wrong as it’s best job in the world.”

Kee, 26, was involved every game and scoring goals but he realised he needed some time away in October.

He continued: “I went to work on a building site for two or three weeks and it was a very different experience and it helped me.

“It was a different life. I had to get up at 7am and finish at 5pm and it was hard. It allowed me to stand back and look at my life and the options I had available.

“I realised that football, and the support you get, could help me and the gaffer and Jimmy were there for me.

“I realised I can come into work every day, have banter with my mates, have a good laugh and am getting paid good wages for doing something I love. I had to realise that I was a lucky boy. The gaffer and Jimmy gave me the chance to come back to play football and hopefully I can repay them next season by helping  Accrington get promoted.”

Kee admitted being open about his problems  has helped him on the road to recovery, when he felt his lowest.

“You are best to admit it than keep it inside. It is happening to a lot of lads, in football and out of football, and many don’t realise it.

“It’s important to talk about it and luckily I have been able to do that and be up front about it.

“I don’t think it’s something that will ever go away, it will always be there, but it’s a case of learning how to handle it, having the support around me and to keep plugging away and doing my best for myself and my family.”