Footballers tackling mental health stigma among men by becoming charity ambassadors

Spartans Football Club team are becoming ambassadors for the Mental Health Foundation to raise aware

Spartans Football Club team are becoming ambassadors for the Mental Health Foundation to raise awareness of mental health issues in men. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

A football club in Backwell has become an ambassador for a charity to raise awareness of men’s mental health.

Spartans Football Club, which meets at Backwell School, will work with the Mental Health Foundation for the forthcoming season.

The arrangement coincides with the club’s 10th anniversary.

The main focus is around tackling the stigma surrounding mental health problems in men, while also providing a space for the players to share any worries or concerns.

Board member Jimmy Davis said: “There is a stigma involving men and mental health, as men are worried about talking about their feelings.

“They don’t seek treatment or feel embarrassed.

“A few of the lads have had mental health issues with depression and anxiety, and we decided to do something to coincide with our 10th anniversary and so contacted the Mental Health Foundation.

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“They said they would like us to become ambassadors to help to spread the word.”

Jimmy said 76 per cent of all suicides in the UK involve men.

Suicide is the biggest cause of death in men aged under 35, and they are also less likely than woman to seek help.

He said: “We will all work together at the club to support each other.

“At the end of training sessions, anyone who wants to talk about any issues can come to us and know there is a listening ear available.

“The response we have had from the lads and the club has been fantastic.

“I am so proud of the boys, and it is something which needs addressing.

“The response from everyone has been really good and encouraging.”

The Mental Health Foundation’s logo will be printed on the club’s kit, and the team will promote the charity on its social media accounts.

The Spartans will spend the season raising awareness of the charity and some money.

The club was at risk of folding last year, but after merging with teams in Keynsham and Bristol and securing new sponsorship, it was able to keep going.