Football club takes mental health by the horns

A professional football club is tackling mental health head-on as it introduces specialist wellbeing classes for its up and coming players.

Peterhead Football Club, which plays in the Scottish League, said it hopes the classes will prevent sports-related mental illness and be adopted across the country.

Earlier this year, it was reported that thousands of young footballing stars face depression and anxiety as many do not know what they would do if they were to not make it professionally.

The football club will hold mental health sessions around the topics of suicide and life outside of football.

Martin Johnson, Peterhead FC’s general manager, said many of the players at the club “bottle in” negative thoughts.

“When they travelling to games they are in their own zone as it were.

“They are not the greatest at coming forward, and as an employer we need to get self-training so we can identify the problems.

“The biggest problem is the stigma of the word suicide.

“It’s good to speak.”

Iain Murray, from north east of Scotland’s Choose Life suicide prevention organisation, added: “Here we are working with Peterhead Football Club where physical excellence they are trying to achieve.

“There is a danger that mental health is neglected.

“But that is not the case with this club, they are really forward-thinking, and they do want to break down the stigma and we know that is really important for employers.

“This is absolutely pioneering work.”