Scotland's football community has been galvanised into action in
support of a special event designed to tackle Scotland's high
instance of suicide and to highlight help available to those who
The number of people who die by suicide has fallen over the last
decade, but men in their 30-50s remain most vulnerable. More
people die by suicide in Scotland than by road traffic
Representatives from leading clubs; Celtic, Queen of the South,
Motherwell, Dundee United, Albion Rovers and Airdrie gathered at
Ravenscraig today to lend their support to a special charity
five-a-side football tournament in aid of National Suicide
tournament pictures on our flickr site.
Mark McNally, James Fowler, Scott Leitch, John Rankin, Darren
Young and Bryan Prunty joined more than 150 amateur players to kick
off an event organised by the council in partnership with
The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), NHS Lanarkshire
and NL Leisure.
Councillor Sam Love, Convener of Housing and Social Work
Services with North Lanarkshire Council, said: "Football is a great
way to bring people together and make them feel part of a team.
Sport makes a positive difference to people's mental wellbeing,
reduces isolation and promotes a feeling of belonging.
"ChooseLife's campaign encourages people to talk about suicide
and this will help to save lives by reaching out to those thinking
about suicide and giving them the help when they need it most."
Despite the devastating impact of suicide and other mental
health problems on families; the subject is often taboo. The
event hopes to change that by getting people talking about the
issues and encouraging them to be aware of potential warning signs
and how to get help.
Chief Executive, SAMH, Billy Watson, said: "SAMH remains
concerned that at least two people die by suicide every day in
Scotland. Men make up the majority of those taking their own
lives, particularly men in their 30s-50s.
"Progress is being made though, with the latest figures out in
August indicating a continued fall in the suicide rates in
"This football event can raise awareness amongst men in Scotland
that suicide can affect anyone. It's important for people to
check in and ask any male friend, family member or colleague how
they are. If you think someone might feel suicidal, ask them
directly. That's the first step to getting help."
Fittingly, a team from Holytown, Paul Fagan FC won the
competition. Tragically, Paul died from suicide in 2008, and his
son's Liam, Daniel and Sean put together a team in his memory.
In Scotland, 696 people died by suicide in 2014.
For help and support, speak to your GP or if out of hours, call
NHS 24 on 111.
There is also help and support available at:
• Breathing Space 0800 83 85 87 (6pm - 2am daily and 24 hours
weekends) - Breathing Space is a free and confidential phone-line
service for any individual, who is experiencing low mood or
• Childline 0800 1111 - ChildLine is the free 24 hour helpline for
children and young people in the UK.
• Samaritans 08457 90 90 90 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org - Samaritans
is available 24 hours a day to provide confidential emotional
support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or
• Choose Life www.chooselife.net