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Football rivals put aside differences to support mental health

Two footballing rivals set aside their sporting differences last week in aid of World Suicide Prevention Day.

Players from Highland rivals Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County came together to raise awareness of mental health support and suicide prevention, as part of the global campaign.

World Suicide Prevention Day has been running since 2003, which each year sees charities and other community-led groups raise awareness of the issues and support those who may be suffering in silence.

Latest figures reveal that 5,224 people lost their lives to suicide in 2020 in the UK. According to Mikeysline in Scotland alone almost three quarters of those who took their own life were male, with around half aged between 35-54 year old.

The sporting truce came as the FC United to Prevent Suicide campaign was launched in Scotland, which saw footballing heroes attempt to remove the stigma associated with mental health.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle goalkeeper Mark Ridgers said:

It’s really important to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention, especially given what has happened over the last 18 months. People have been impacted in different ways – including changes in work and their social lives.

Keith Watson, Ross County right-back, said:

There’s a big drive in football to be aware of mental health, and more and more people are beginning to speak up about it. It’s important to know that it’s ok to talk and it’s ok to get help, as this will and does make a big difference to people’s lives.

The football clubs used the opportunity to support local mental health charity Mikeysline, which was founded in 2015 following a tragic number of suicides in the Highland area.

The charity offers confidential, non-judgemental support to people of all ages with mental health issues or in emotional distress in the Highlands via a text line service at 07786 207755, as well as via live chat, Twitter and Messenger.

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Image by Planit Scotland