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Mikeysline on the ball with Elgin City for better mental health

By Chris Saunderson

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A NEW football partnership has been formed to raise awareness of mental health.

Highland charity Mikeysline has teamed up with Elgin City.

Elgin City general manager Kieran Carty and Mikeysline chief executive Emily Stokes at the launch of their new partnership. Picture: Becky Saunderson
Elgin City general manager Kieran Carty and Mikeysline chief executive Emily Stokes at the launch of their new partnership. Picture: Becky Saunderson

The charity will provide awareness training to all the club's age group players to increase understanding of mental health and what people can do to help themselves and others who are maybe struggling.

Emily Stokes, chief executive of the charity, was at Borough Briggs this week to formally launch the partnership with the Cinch League Two Club.

She said: "We will offer mental health awareness training for their players, for the community and we are just really grateful they are going to promote Mikeysline and the support we can provide.

"Partnerships with football clubs are brilliant because there are so many people that are part of a community and a football club is a focus of that. So hopefully we will be able to reach out to a lot more people should they need our support.

"The club wants to get the message out that it is OK not to be OK and to reach out for support when you need it.

"Men in general can sometimes find it more difficult to talk about their feelings. In Scotland we have the highest suicide rate in Europe and men in particular are most at risk.

"A football club gives us an opportunity to reach more men."

The charity already has partnerships with Premiership Ross County, Championship Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Highland League Nairn County.

"We are trying to reach out to Moray now so this is an amazing way to get that launched," Emily added.

"We really want to get the message out that Mikeysline is there for anybody in Moray of any age. We do textline support every day of the week that's by SMS, Messenger, Twitter, Webchat and Whats App. We can also provide one-to-one support at our Hive in Inverness or virtually."

The charity has already been working with local schools in the Elgin and Lossiemouth areas.

Emily said the pandemic has had a huge impact on people, and added to anxiety levels.

"The mental health needs have increased significantly. We have been around for six years and we have seen an increase in people using our services since the pandemic.

"We are really grateful to Keiran (Carty, general manager) and the club for reaching out to us and we are really hoping we can make a difference in the community."

Keiran added: "We wanted to raise some awareness about mental health and we know Mikeysline do a fantastic job.

"As a community-based football club we want to do as much as we can to help and educate.

"Mental health is very important to think about. We want to make sure everyone is Ok. We have a club pastor who is open to talk to anyone.

"You know what footballers are like, they are a tough bunch and men are terrible for talking. It is trying to encourage people to talk and let them know it is OK not to be OK."

Mikeysline was founded in 2015 following the tragic deaths of good friends, Martin Shaw and Michael Williamson within 48 hours.

Ron Williamson, Mikey’s uncle, heard that young people felt that they had nowhere to go when they were at a loss when struggling with mental health issues.

So, along with other key individuals, he founded Mikeysline with the aim of changing this so that others might receive the help and support that Mikey needed.

Find out more anbout the charity at https://www.mikeysline.co.uk/

If you need someone to talk to, you can text 07786 20 77 55, or contact the charity via messenger, webchat or twitter.

Sunday-Thursday 6-10pm, Friday-Saturday 7pm-7am.

You can also visit the Hive, 19 Academy Street, Inverness from Sunday-Thursday 6pm-10pm and Friday-Saturday 6pm-11pm.

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