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Football club’s pledge to promote mental health awareness in the west coast with Mikeysline partnership

By Niall Harkiss

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Lochbroom AFC players Michael Munro and Kaden Irvine show off the new strip.
Lochbroom AFC players Michael Munro and Kaden Irvine show off the new strip.

This summer, players at Lochbroom amateur football club in Ullapool will carry the message that it’s “ok not to be ok” on their shoulders — with mental health support charity Mikesyline printed on the back of their latest strip.

Lochbroom team manager Ben Bruce says pairing up with the Highland-based charity will help them to promote the importance of mental health across the west coast.

He said: “The west coast can be an isolating place with limited services and a lot of people trying to go the extra mile in their jobs to support others, so the importance of Mikeysline having a presence in these places cannot be understated.

“We owe a big thank you to Robert Hicks from the Arch Inn, who has supported us in promoting Mikeysline by supplying the strips for us.

“Displaying their name on our shoulders is just one way we can hopefully showcase the fantastic work that Mikeysline does.”

Lochbroom manager Ben Bruce hopes his side can help to remove the stigma of talking about mental health.
Lochbroom manager Ben Bruce hopes his side can help to remove the stigma of talking about mental health.

Bruce, who personally experienced the loss of a teammate while playing in the United States, says the club want to “remove the stigma” of talking about mental health, especially for young men.

He said: “I know how it feels to have lost a teammate after they took their own life. So, the club and I want to do as much as we can so that everyone feels like they have someone they can turn to so that they don’t have to suffer in silence.

“We want to do our best to help relieve any stigma there might be around mental health in our community, especially for males.

“The suicide rate amongst males speaks for itself so we want to create an environment that supports our players on and off the pitch.

“We also have younger age groups in our club, and we want to do our best to educate them on how they can take of their mental health. It’s something that people think doesn’t affect them, but everyone has mental health.”

The team, who compete in the north-west Sutherland league during the summer,

As well as bearing the charity’s name on their kit, Bruce says the club plan to hold a range of events in the Ullapool area, to support the “ethos” of the charity.

They also plan to take donations for the charity at their home games this summer.

Bruce added: “Mikeysline currently offer a drop-in service in Ullapool, along with several other locations on the west coast. Alongside their in-person sessions in Ullapool, they also offer a web chat and a number you can either message or call when you need someone to talk to.

“We are so appreciative of them offering these sessions in outreach areas along with their main hub in Inverness.

“Over the year, we hope to run some collaborative events with Mikeysline to support their ethos.

“This year also, at each of our home games we will have a donation bucket where all proceeds will go to Mikeysline.”

The Ullapool-based side kick off their new summer campaign with a Stafford Cup match away to Mallard AFC on Saturday.

The game kicks off tomorrow (Saturday) at 1.15pm at the Highland Football Academy in Dingwall.

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