FC United To Prevent Suicide (FC United) launched in Scotland today (Thursday 26 August) with the help of youth coach and mental health activist Aaron Connolly and Scottish Football Association Head of Community Development Paul McNeill.
The campaign’s aim is to reach more people through compelling football-related social media activity and personal accounts from well-known faces in Scottish football, via a dedicated Twitter channel @_FCUnited.
In 2020, 805 people died by suicide in Scotland.
People with lived experience are at the heart of FC United, with impactful on-camera interviews and written contributions from some well-known names within the Scottish game sharing their own stories of mental health issues and/or suicide.
The campaign follows hot on the heels of some work with Hibernian FC earlier this year, when first-team players Christian Doidge and Scott Allan spoke openly about mental health and suicide in a bid to spark conversation around the topic.
Over the coming weeks, FC United will reveal a new, bespoke home kit, some new signings who are keen to support the cause and some powerful stats that highlight just why encouraging people to talk about this is so crucial.
Aaron and Paul met at Partick Thistle’s Firhill Stadium for an open, honest chat about their own lived experiences.
Aaron, bravely, documents his own mental health ups and down on social media after a suicide attempt — helping countless others in the process.
He’s backing FC United and said: “It’s never been more important for people to feel comfortable talking about a topic that many might still be inclined to shy away from. Football is a fantastic vehicle to raise awareness and hopefully conversations, like the one I had with Paul, can help drive action.”
Paul, who lost his father to suicide, added: “Suicide prevention messaging is really, really important. We’ve got to change the culture and raise awareness that it’s okay to open up and have important conversations, like the one Aaron and I had for FC United. Hopefully we can help encourage other people to go and ask for a bit of help.”
FC United has been launched by the United To Prevent Suicide social movement, part of the work of Scotland’s National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group. FC United has one goal — to work together to prevent suicide and save lives. FC United is a club for everyone and it’s urging football fans to make FC United their second team and non-football fans to get involved too. Please stay tuned to the new @_FCUnited Twitter channel for all the latest team news, stats and new signings.
The following services offer confidential support from trained staff and volunteers. You can talk about anything that is troubling you, no matter how difficult:
- Call 116 123 to talk to Samaritans, or email email@example.com. Samaritans are there to listen 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and it’s always free to call from any landline or mobile phone.
- Call 111 to talk to NHS 24’s mental health hub.
- Call 0800 83 85 87 to talk to Breathing Space. The service is open 24 hours at weekends (6pm Friday — 6am Monday) and 6pm to 2am on weekdays (Monday — Thursday). The Breathing Space webchat is an alternative to phoning the service.
- Text “SHOUT” to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line, text “YM” if you are under 19.