Footballers to play for men’s mental health

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A charity football match in Leeds will help tackle the stigma surrounding men’s mental health.

A group of more than 30 men will play ‘The Match 2018’ for The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and Andy’s Man Club, which both try to prevent men taking their own lives.

GAME: The Match 2018, which will benefit men's mental health charities, will kick off at 7pm on September 8.

GAME: The Match 2018, which will benefit men's mental health charities, will kick off at 7pm on September 8.

The game will kick off at 7pm at the West Riding FA’s Headquarters on Fleet Lane, Woodlesford on Saturday, September 8. The event has been organised by Dave Learmont, 27, who has battled anxiety and depression.

He said: “From around 2012 to 2016 I suffered pretty badly from depression and anxiety. I still do now to an extent, but back then there were days where I had to physically roll myself out of bed because I couldn’t bear the weight of the thoughts running through my mind. I’d want to drive my car into a wall on my morning commute, or think about stepping in front of my train so that the thoughts would go away.”

“I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t want to feel like a burden, even though I knew my family would support me. Feeling weak was a big part of it, I was definitely affected by ‘the stigma’ - it didn’t seem manly to be suffering from mental illness.”

In the UK, 75 per cent of suicides are male, and it is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45.

The Match 2018 organiser Dave Learmont

The Match 2018 organiser Dave Learmont

Mr Learmont opened up about his struggles after meeting his partner Heather. He added: “Us blokes are brilliant at moaning about man flu and coughs and colds, but when it comes to something like mental illness, where the consequences of not talking are infinitely more severe, we stay silent. We want to change that, and hopefully, by sharing my story and how far I’ve come, it can show others that it’s okay to talk.”

You can donate via text by sending FFFC91 + your amount to 70070 or by visiting The Match 2018’s fundraising page, www.justgiving.com/fundraising/the-match-2018.