Clyde boss Barry Ferguson has backed efforts by the football community to raise awareness of Scotland’s high suicide figures and highlight help available to those who need it.
Ferguson and assistant manager Bob Malcolm were among the players and coaches from Lanarkshire’s SPFL clubs who attended a special charity five-a-side tournament.
The event was held at the Ravenscraig sports complex in Motherwell and was hosted North Lanarkshire Council and North Lanarkshire Leisure in aid of National Suicide Prevention Week.
More people die by suicide in Scotland than by road traffic accidents. Despite major strides being made over the last few years, many people, and in particular young men in the 30-50s remain most vulnerable.
The Clyde boss said: “It is so important that people know that help is available for them in their time of need.
“We were tragically affected by suicide at Clyde and we realise how vital it is that support is there for those who need it.
“Young people are all too often involved in the terrible suicide figures in Scotland and it is great to see so many high school pupils taking part in this fantastic awareness raising event today.”
More than 150 amateur players and high school pupils took part in the event, making up 15 adult teams and 10 high school sides.
As well as the Clyde duo Motherwell assistant manager James McFadden and Albion Rovers boss Darren Young also went along to give their support.
Former Scotland ace McFadden said: “We are delighted to help the council raise awareness about Suicide Prevention in North Lanarkshire.
“Through football we can encourage people to talk about issues and for others to be aware of potential warning signs and how to be able to offer help and support.”
Paul Kelly, Depute Leader of North Lanarkshire Council and co-chair of the Lanarkshire Joint Integration Board (JIB), played in the tournament and said the day had been a marked success.
He added: “Despite the devastating impact of suicide and other mental health problems on families, the subject is often taboo.
“Here in North Lanarkshire we’re taking the conversation right into the centre of our communities so people can be confident in discussing and asking about suicide but, crucially, they know how and where to get help.
“Our objective is to provide the right support at the right time and in right place. By working together we can have a greater impact in preventing suicide.”
Kevin O’Neill, public mental health and well-being development manager for Lanarkshire, said: “Suicide Awareness Week has become a major date in the health and social care calendar for both health professionals and the wider public and I think this highlights the importance everyone places on this issue.
“Every suicide is a tragedy, but we’re taking inspiration from the fact that recent suicide statistics show a 10 per cent reduction in the rates across Lanarkshire since 2002.
Anyone who is feeling suicidal, or suspects that someone they know is considering suicide, can contact Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 (24 hours) or Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87.
For more information visit www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/safer.