World Suicide Prevention Day – Football clubs raise awareness
Observed on September 10th every year, World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) provides the opportunity for people across the globe, to raise awareness of suicide. Did you know that one in every 100 deaths worldwide is the result of suicide? It can affect every one of us. Each and every suicide is devastating and has a profound impact on those around them. Therefore, it’s good that football organisations deliver more and more mental health programmes and help to raise awareness, reduce the stigma around suicide and encourage well-informed action.
Foundation of Light
To mark World Suicide Prevention Day Sunderland AFC and Foundation of Light, are backing a campaign for greater awareness and prevention of death by suicide.
Recent statistics show that one in five people have thought about suicide at some time in their life, with over 6,000 people dying by suicide in the UK each year. Sadly, approximately three-quarters of those deaths are amongst men and suicide is the leading cause of death in males age 20-49 years.
Whilst national rates remain high, some of the highest are in the North of England, with Sunderland and South Tyneside in particular having one of the highest rates across the North East region.
Putting footballing rivalries aside, the Foundation of Light is working with the North East Suicide Prevention Network and Newcastle United Foundation to tackle the problem through the #BeAGameChanger campaign which actively promotes open conversations and gives football fans the confidence to talk about mental health with their mates.
To show their support, Sunderland AFC will dedicate Saturday’s Sky Bet League One match against Accrington Stanley to the campaign, using the match day platform to encourage fans to check in with their friends and family and to have the confidence to ask if they are ok.
The Black Cats will wear branded #BeAGameChanger warm-up t-shirts and campaign messaging will be seen on screens around the Stadium of Light, including a new, poignant video starring Sunderland AFC players Carl Winchester, Louise Griffiths and Charlotte Potts.
Foundation staff will also be on hand to provide support and answer questions in the SAFC Fan Zone in the Beacon of Light from 12.30pm, alongside Sunderland Branch Liaison Council’s Match Day Mental Health Hub.
Over the last year, the Foundation has supported hundreds of people through free, bespoke mental health training for businesses and grassroots football clubs across Sunderland and South Tyneside.