The Spireites are helping to make people aware of the 14th annual World Suicide Prevention Day, which takes place tomorrow.
Events will be taking place across the globe to raise awareness of suicide, its causes and how it can be addressed.
Suicide is most commonly a product of depression, a characteristically invisible condition that can take hold right under the noses of a sufferer’s closest friends and family.
The vast majority of deaths by suicide are male. Dr Allan Johnston, who is a consultant psychiatrist with the Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, says last year’s suicide statistics shows a worryingly increasing trend. "Deaths from suicide in our county increased by 87% in a single year between 2013 and 2014, and this last year has seen the continuation of that pattern," he commented.
“If anything, the proportion of male victims has only increased. In Derbyshire last year, the people who died from suicide were 85% male. Nearly nine out of ten people currently dying from suicide are men, which is why we are using sport as a vehicle to reach out to men and people affected by suicide.”
The Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Trust are using their connections with the Community Trust through the Spireites Active for Life programme, which combats mental health issues through football, to help raise awareness of Suicide Prevention Day.
Rachel Booth, who is the Spireites Community Trust's community manager, said: “Although we don’t have a home match on the day this week, we will make sure there is a strong social media presence to help raise awareness.
“As a Community Trust, we have been working for many years now addressing mental health. We have set up a football team specifically for people suffering with mental health problems. It has been going from strength to strength and will shortly be joining the Wellbeing League in Sheffield.”
Wellbeing is also the name of the PFA’s 24/7 helpline and nationwide support network. Spireites player/coach and PFA chairman Ritchie Humphreys, who is an ambassador for the PFA’s mental health programme, said: “We have a network of 70 trained counsellors nationwide, and aim to provide as much support as possible to footballers with mental health issues.
“I think there’s quite a misconception of wealth in football, as the vast majority of players will need second careers for when they stop playing. There are many things that can trigger mental health problems during a player’s career and they aren’t always easy to spot, from long-term injuries to difficulties at home. Hopefully by raising awareness like this we will start to see more people getting help in the football industry and indeed in wider society.”
Dr Johnston added: “Perhaps if you are out there on the terraces this weekend, ask your friend if they’re okay and listen to them and help them if they need it. We want to let people who are over-represented in suicide statistics and under-represented in seeking help know that it is okay to talk.”
To find out more about World Suicide Prevention Day, please visit: https://www.iasp.info/wspd/