There’s a serious message behind our latest Kit of the Week as Doncaster Rovers and suicide prevention charity CALM team-up to break-down the barriers and taboos that still exist around mental health.
Doncaster Rovers’ new 3rd kit is part of the club’s campaign to promote awareness of mental health issues and to encourage those experiencing problems not to suffer in silence.
“ONE IN FOUR”
Mental health problems including anxiety, depression and addiction can be triggered by many aspects of modern life and will effect 1 in 4 of us during our lives and whilst a broken leg may be obvious for all to see, what happens inside our heads, or how we can support our friends, is often far less obvious than signing a plaster cast.
Back in September, Doncaster Rovers along with kit manufacturers FBT Sports and the Doncaster NHS Clinical Commissioning Group launched a competition for young people to design a new 3rd kit for the League One side and in doing so, helped raise awareness of mental health causes.
Local schools were invited to take part in the competition with each entrant receiving a pack of information to help recognise the causes and symptoms of problems, as well as where to go for support and guidance.
The winning entry comes in the form of a series of multicoloured triangles on a white crew neck shirt, designed by 11 year-old Nate Nisar, who aimed for a retro design, with the variety of colours representing contrasting emotions.
Club sponsors LNER generously lent space on the winning design to CALM who’s mission is specifically to prevent male suicide; the biggest killer of men under the age of 45.
For many people, football is a welcome release valve from the stresses and strains of ever-day life and as supporters, we feel a sense of belonging as we share in the highs and lows of our clubs’ fortunes.
Football kits stir a mixture of memories and emotions and if supporters can talk about a new shirt, Rovers along with CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably), believe fans can be encouraged to speak up, take control, and seek help when they need it.
Christmas and the colder months can be a tough time and amidst all the joy and frivolity of the festive season, it can be difficult to recognise that a mate of yours, perhaps a fellow fan, might need some support which is why CALM have begun the #BeTheMateYoudWant campaign to help friends begin more supportive, non-judgemental conversations with each other.
Quite apart from the beautifully bespoke alternative shirt, Doncaster Rovers have succeeded in reducing the stigma around mental health, educating young people in and around the Keepmoat Stadium that the strong, silent approach doesn’t always work and it’s OK to talk about your feelings.
By prompting conversations and challenging cultural perceptions around men and mental health, Doncaster Rovers and CALM are worthy recipients of our Kit of the Week title.
Mental health issues are more common than you may think and there’s no need for anybody to ever walk alone.
If you need to, speak to CALM on 0800 58 58 58 or visit thecalmzone.net for more information.