Fans attending Derby County’s match against Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon will be urged to speak up if they are feeling down – whatever the result of the game.

Derby County and Derby County Community Trust will be teaming up with a number of local organisations – including Derbyshire County Council, Derby City Council, the Samaritans and the county’s mental health trust and Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – to inspire fans from both clubs to tell someone if they are feeling ‘off their game’.

The match day coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day, an annual event to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented.

The theme this year is ‘connect, communicate, care’ and fans coming to the iPro Stadium will be given tips and information on how to improve their wellbeing – and the wellbeing of those around them – by reaching out to others, including contact details for Derby County’s own Active Supporters programme, as well as charities and health services that can help in times of crisis.

There will also be videos on the big screen inside the stadium from members of the Derby first team squad, giving advice on ways to improve how you feel, and a charity collection will be made for organisations that specialise in suicide prevention – such as the Samaritans, State of Mind (a charity that harnesses the power of sport to promote positive mental health) and Cruse Bereavement Care.

Among those present to chat with fans will be two sporting heroes from the rugby world: Jimmy Gittins, a former professional rugby league player who overcame a serious neck injury and now helps others with their rehabilitation from illness; and Ian Knott, a former professional player for Warrington Wakefield and Leigh, who now works for the charity State of Mind in fighting the stigmas of mental illness.

Dr Allan Johnston, a consultant psychiatrist at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust who chairs the trust’s Suicide Prevention Strategy Group, said: “We’re very grateful to Derby County and Derby County Community Trust for the opportunity to talk with their fans about this really important subject.

“Every two hours, someone dies in this country as a result of suicide. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 – and it’s something that’s affected the footballing community in recent years, too. Yet many people feel they can’t or shouldn’t talk about suicide, or even how they’re feeling.

“We’re hoping that Saturday’s event will help to challenge that stigma, and show people that it’s OK to talk when you’re feeling anxious, stressed or down.

We’re also hoping to bust a few myths along the way – for example, the misconception that talking to someone who is suicidal won’t make any difference.

The truth is that suicide is a complex condition and often has multiple causes; people are often upset, grief-stricken, depressed or in extreme distress and they want the pain to stop.

That’s why it’s so important that people who are feeling low are encouraged to speak up and get help – because it can make all the difference in the world.”

Roger Davies, Derby County’s Club Ambassador, added: “We’re delighted to support the campaign; it’s staggering that suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45, we want to help make a difference and urge our fans to seek help if they are feeling off their game.”

There are so many ways in which you can make a positive change in your life such as the five ways to wellbeing:

CONNECT – ring a mate or family member, have a chat, arrange a meet-upBE ACTIVE – go for a walk or run, have a game of footie, join our Active Supporters programmeTAKE NOTICE – of all the good stuff around youLEARN – a new skill, play a new sportGIVE – volunteer, help a stranger, be part of something ‘big’.

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has a research team which focuses specifically on suicide prevention. The team wants to know from residents of Derby and Derbyshire: is it easy to talk about suicide?

They have created a short survey and are encouraging people to complete it by visiting:


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