Mental health stigma the main reason behind the creation of FC Not Alone

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It’s a crying shame that the issues surrounding mental health are still so much of a stigma in 2020.

However, the fact remains that many young men, particularly those involved with sport, find it hard to speak out on any problems they might be experiencing.

Suicide remains the biggest killer of men under 45, and the shocking statistic is that of the 125 people per week in the UK that take their own lives, 75% are male.

The creation of one of the world’s first mental health football teams, FC Not Alone, will seek to combat that, and offer hope to anyone that is struggling.

BBC Sport report that the idea came to university student, Matthew Legg, after he deferred his place because of a bout of depression.

Along with his cousin, Ian McKenzie, both were said to be inspired by the power that football harnesses in terms of being able to engage people emotionally.

“The depression was taking over every part of my psyche and life, and there were constant problems to tackle,” Legg said, cited by BBC Sport.

“Football was massive. I had stopped playing out of shame, lack of energy and embarrassment.

“But I did play with Ian, and it showed that all was not lost. Each time I played, I gained a glimmer of hope that I could tackle this problem, and I began to enjoy it again.

“These small glimpses of enjoyment, something that had left my life for so long, were so important to inspire me to keep fighting and try to beat my depression and gave me belief that I could do so.”

The pair have met royalty and played at Wembley as part of their journey, and the club hope to inspire more similar ventures around the country in future.

Where mental health is at stake, one can only laud their efforts and wish them well.