In February this year, over 70 Palace and Fulham fans embarked on a walk together to raise awareness of mental health and male suicide.
Following the success of the walk from Craven Cottage to Selhurst Park, fans of both Palace and Arsenal have now linked up for a further event which will take place on the 21st April for the Eagles game at the Emirates.
This will be another mental health and male suicide awareness walk from Selhurst Park up to the Emirates Stadium in North London. Fans taking part will cover a distance of around 12 miles which will take around four hours, including stops.
The walk is being undertaken as a direct result of personal experiences of many of the participants and also because of horrendous statistics on mental health and male suicide.
Mental health impacts 1 person in 4 but is much further reaching as it can have an impact on friends and family of sufferers which can then create a tough and challenging environment in the home, at work or in social situations.
Male suicide covers 75% of all suicides in the UK and is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45. It is estimated that roughly 12 men take their own life every single day which equates to around 84 a week, 4,500 a year which is a staggering and upsetting statistic.
Men in particular are not good at expressing their feelings and opening up but finding the courage to talk and find help is life changing and, in some cases life saving.
Help is out there in many places and in many forms but, men typically bottle things up and take on all the pressure which can lead to terrible circumstances.
From personal experience of both organisers who have opened up and sought help in the past, the belief is that talking is the most powerful tool available, it is the starting point to recovery and can in turn, save lives.
The walks were set-up to raise awareness of both mental health and male suicide but also because it is believed that this initiative can make a real difference in encouraging people to find the courage to talk and find help.
It is the centre-piece to bring people together, it is aimed at demonstrating how powerful talking is and as such, is organised as a very social “walk and talk” event. The true vehicle to publicise the message is the media or social media of the event where the message can be spread easily and reach to many.
Undertaking the event on a match-day with opposing fans walking together sends out a very powerful message in a world where football fans can be stereo-typed in negative ways.
Football itself is huge and powerful, it reaches every corner of the world and therefore billions of people. Many of these people will suffer with mental health issues, may have contemplated suicide themselves or will know somebody that has made the decision to take their own life.
A lot of people interested in football and fans that attend games generally are men under 45 years of age. This profile alone, based on the statistics makes football a fantastic conduit to reach potentially vulnerable people and football fans therefore make the perfect target audience.
The tweet below from ITV News provided the much needed coverage of the recent walk from Craven Cottage to Selhurst Park and gives a view of the initiative, what we are trying to achieve as well as footage of the event.
They may be rivals on the pitch but at the weekend @FulhamFC and @CPFC fans were united as they walked together – stadium to stadium – to help prevent suicide which is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45. @mikeyworrall1 joined them. pic.twitter.com/695Z7yJgwm
— ITV London (@itvlondon) February 5, 2019
In the modern day and game, football is also followed by people of all ages, across both sexes and therefore getting the message out to encourage people to talk and seek help through football has huge potential.
The event itself is not about raising money and is all about raising awareness. It is aimed at sending out a message to encourage people to open up, to talk and to understand that they are not alone.
To get involved or to find out more, get in contact with Paul on Twitter.
Proposed stops and details of the route are shown below;
|09:30||Selhurst Park Stadium – SE25 8QB||N/A||N/A||Norwood Junction, Selhurst or Thornton Heath|
|10:50 to 11:00||Half Moon Pub, Herne Hill – SE24 9HU||4.3m/6.9km||~1:30 hrs||Herne Hill|
|Break ~20 mins|
|12:30 to 12:40||Prince William Henry Pub, Blackfriars – SE1 8NL||4.0m/6.4km||~1:20 hrs||Blackfriars, Southwark Tube|
|Break ~20 mins|
|13:35 to 13:45||Wetherspoons (Angel) – N1 9LQ||2.0m/3.2km||45 mins||Angel Tube|
|Not a Break||Final pick-up / meeting point|
|14:05 to 14:15||Piebury Corner –
|1.3m/2.0km||30 mins||Drayton Park or Holloway Road Tube|
|15:15||Emirates Stadium – N7 7AJ||Finish and photos|
If you need help, or want to talk to someone, please make contact with any of the following chairty organisations who provide fantastic support;