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South Shields players back mental health help bid

Police cadets Jennie Mitchell and Nick White, South Shields FC joint manager Graham Fenton, striker Carl Finnigan and Det Serg Ash Hopper, with PC Karl Peterson.
Police cadets Jennie Mitchell and Nick White, South Shields FC joint manager Graham Fenton, striker Carl Finnigan and Det Serg Ash Hopper, with PC Karl Peterson.

South Shields Football Club has joined the bid to kick the stigma surrounding mental health.

A team from Northumbria Police visited the club’s Mariners Park ground after it threw its support behind the Our Blue Light campaign.

The initiative, in conjunction with mental health charity Mind, aims to bring the emergency services together to raise awareness of mental health and rid the stigma surrounding it.

It particularly centres around improving the mental health, well-being and working life of those who work for the emergency services, and get the public talking about mental health.

The Our Blue Light torch was at Mariners Park on the latest leg of a relay taking it around the North East this week.

Mariners player Carl Finnigan was one of those to greet it.

He said: “It is difficult for players to feel comfortable speaking out about mental health. Most players are scared to show anything that might be perceived as a weakness.

“Projects like this are so good because they give people more avenues to talk about mental health and show them that it’s not a weakness to speak out.

Det Serg Ash Hopper, who works in the safeguarding department at Northumbria Police, said: “The blue light torch is being taken around the force area this week. There’s a stigma attached to talking about mental health in the police, in a similar way to football.

“We’re trying to break down that barrier and stop that stigma.

“We want to show people that there’s support out there and people you can talk to.”