Written by Yvonne(DTFC Mental Health Advocate/Ambassador)
Photo by Liam Smith
One of the things I like to do as the Club's Mental Health Advocate & Ambassador is to change people's minds. Despite the fact we're now in 2022 there are still people who really don't understand mental illness and hold on to stereotyped prejudices and use hurtful words to describe someone who is suffering the internal torment of low mood and depression or an anxiety so strong and powerful you fear you will never get well again.
I was listening to the excellent podcast series "Fortunately with Fi and Jane". They were talking to one of my favourite BBC newsreaders, Huw Edwards. Huw said he had told colleagues that he had lived with depression for the past 20 years, sometimes so crippling he could not leave his bed. One of his colleagues said, "The BBC don't want a nutter reading the News"
For those of us working in this field, this is not surprising language. We still have a long way to go to educate and inform people, so that nobody ever has to get a reply like that one. It's one of the reasons I do the job for the Club that I do.
Dunstable Town FC may be a small club, but we are in the vanguard of football clubs working to normalise mental ill-health. I am a Club Silver Owner and my kids are Junior owners. Look at the back of your Owner's Blue Card. Do you see what's on the back there? The telephone number for Crisis Support from Mind BLMK? We're into our fifth season now promoting their work and became part of the CALM Collective last year (Campaign Against Living Miserably)
This week is Mental Health Awareness week. (https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week} The emphasis is on reducing loneliness and social isolation.
Thankfully, the Club is doing our bit to help locally. We teamed up with Titan PCN & Stevenage Leisure Ltd to start Chums and Crumbs on March 10th. Lee Nutley runs the group on behalf of the Club which offers company, support and friendship for lonely and socially isolated people. It would be nice to think that one day groups like this won't be necessary. But until that day comes Dunstable Town FC & our partner agencies will be there to offer support and advice and signpost people to specialist services if and when necessary.
Mind BLMK Crisis Support (365 days/year available from 5 pm until 11 pm) 01525 722225
CALM. Crisis Support (365 days/year available from 5 pm until midnight) 0800 585858
Samaritans. 24-hour support 365 days/year 116 123