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Suicide awareness group set to take message to Ross County FC fans on Saturday

By Alasdair Fraser

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Patrick and Wendy Mullery ..Picture: Callum Mackay. Image No..
Patrick and Wendy Mullery ..Picture: Callum Mackay. Image No..

A SUICIDE awareness group is taking its message of help, hope and support to football fans on Saturday as Ross County host St Johnstone.

Ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10, James’s Support Group will set up stall outside the Global Energy Stadium in Dingwall from 1pm.

Patrick Mullery, who runs the group, lost his son James to suicide at the age of 28.

The month is especially poignant to Mr Mullery and his family as October 8 marks the second anniversary of James’ death.

James’s Support Group will follow up the Dingwall date with another at Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s match against Alloa on October 19.

“The aim is to try and target the demographic that is most afflicted by suicide and mental health issues, which is men under the age of 40,” Mr Mullery said.

“A football match is a really good place to start. We did the shinty cup final in Fort William a couple of weeks ago for the same reason.

“It is just about trying to get the message out there, the best we can. We’re not counsellors, we just arrive with good intentions, leaflets and our own experiences.

“If they are struggling, they can get the information they need and get some help.”

Since being formed 18 months ago, the self-funded, non-charitable group has helped around 400 people at 18 meetings held on the last Sunday of every month at the Mercure Hotel in Inverness.

With close to 180 members, it helps both bereaved individuals and those suffering mental health issues.

Mr Mullery said there was strong evidence October was a particularly difficult time for many with suicidal thoughts.

“My son took his own life two years ago on October 8 and another of our group members lost her son on the 4th. Whether it is linked to the shorter days and darker nights, it does seem to be the start of it,” he said.

“What we give is a safe environment to speak or just listen. If you are a mum grieving suicide, there will be another mum. If you’re a sister grieving suicide, there will be another sister. There will be people who completely get what you’re going through.

“Equally, there is plenty of support for anyone with suicidal thoughts.”

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