4 Scottish footballers on suicide watch as mental health impact of shutdown laid bare

barclay_bear

Well-Known Member
Four Scots footballers have been saved from suicide by a mental health charity in the past week as the coronavirus crisis wreaks havoc.

Dozens of stressed-out footballers are flooding Stirling-based Back onside with cries for help and they are currently working with 83 players from clubs across the SPFL.


Forty - footballers and members of the public - are in a three-month counselling course but the numbers are described as the tip of the iceberg as players try to come to terms with financial anxiety and a lack of structure to their lives with games and training cancelled.

Former Hibs and Scotland star Garry O’Connor, is an ambassador for the charity run by his partner Libby Emmerson and before lockdown was touring the country speaking to clubs and players about the need to look after their mental health.

He said: “The charity is going through a crisis scenario at the moment because it is so busy and needs more funding to provide the help that’s needed.

“This period is affecting the mental health of so many people. “Even before football stopped, we worked with a lot of players but in recent days and weeks more and more have come to us.

“Players are worried they won’t get paid. That affects mortgages, their car payments and that can affect people’s heads.

“Back Onside is unique in that it’s 24/7. The phone is always on. We are always on the end of the line.

“Libby takes calls in the middle of night and she’s speaking to them, trying to calm them down or jumping in the car and going to see them if it seems really serious.


“She could be going out and saving someone’s life.

“I don’t know how many lives Libby’s saved in the last couple of weeks. As I said, it’s at crisis point. There are more and more people being driven to want to take their own life and often a call to Libby is the thing that stops them.”

Emmerson, who founded Back Onside two years without any funding from outwith donations and fundraising events, said: “The numbers are frightening. The 83 are just SPFL, that’s not counting the juniors and amateur clubs. The numbers are ridiculous.

“More are coming since the coronavirus pandemic hit. Some are guys we’ve been in touch with previously but a lot are calling for the first time. They’ve been feeling anxious and their worries are now heightened.


From last Monday to Thursday, we had four players who were thinking about suicide.


The awareness that we are here has grown since Andy Robertson made his donation. More players are thinking: ‘well if Andy’s backing them, they must be trustworthy.’

“If we were able to put everyone in counselling who have come to us since coronavirus, we’d be hitting 100.

“That not just footballers, but a lot more footballers are getting in contact. From the top clubs to amateurs.


“On Saturday, I had 22 players contact me. They’re worried and need to speak to somebody. They are the man of the house and panic is setting in. What are they going to do with a routine? They are missing the structure, the dressing room banter, the exercise and the games on top of financial anxiety.

“Total panic is setting in.”
 

SGbanwa

Well-Known Member
I don’t want to sound harsh but they are. Missing the crowds cheering them on and without a doubt I believe not just footballers but many others are going to feel wtf has happened in my life.

Mental health is a killer and I Hope most are coping with lockdown and acceptance of it to save them and loved ones.

Stay safe troops and stay home as I did over 3 weeks ago.
 

Fourladshadadream

Well-Known Member
Official Ticketer
I know a lad they saved.

There’s a picture of him on his Fb when he contacted them and a picture of him now.

He’s still fighting his fight and has ups and downs.

Doctors wanting to send him home and he was telling them he won’t see the morning.

BOS helped to get him sectioned.
It’s was a former Aberdeen player who contacted BOS to help him.

Well done Backonside.
 

sirstevefleming

Well-Known Member
Mental health provision in Scottish football is very poor. Negligent by the sfa in particular.

the charity may or may not be doing lots of good stuff but their model of care is bullshit and unsustainable. Im not sure what counselling actually does - I’d be getting frustrated if a counselor was just listening - I’d imagine I’d want help and a meaningful intervention.
 

Greggy75

Well-Known Member
I know a lad that plays in the Scottish championship. He's struggling with a gambling addiction. His family are hoping that now there's no sports to bet on he'll have a better chance to beat it. I have my doubts, he'll probably turn to online casinos or the like for his fix
 

Delboy

Well-Known Member
Mental health provision in Scottish football is very poor. Negligent by the sfa in particular.

the charity may or may not be doing lots of good stuff but their model of care is bullshit and unsustainable. Im not sure what counselling actually does - I’d be getting frustrated if a counselor was just listening - I’d imagine I’d want help and a meaningful intervention.
I've read some shite on here but your post is up there.
 

Jase

Well-Known Member
It’s a worrying trend considering we’re really only at the start of this.

My daughter is has been working from home for a while now but since the schools closed she’s got two kids at home with her. We face time every day and you can tell it having an effect on her. She’s strong enough to cope but it’s easy to see how easily it could all go tits up.
 

the dug

Well-Known Member
I think there is going to be a massive mental health crisis off the back of the covid-19 as people grasp just how quickly their lives can be turned upside down and how vulnerable we all are.
I’m sure BOS are doing a great job for their clients as are the many mental health charities, however, I see Gary O’Conner’s name associated with this and my first thought is - there’s something dodgy/attention seeking about it.
Probably says more about me than anything else but there you go.
 

barclay_bear

Well-Known Member
Mental health provision in Scottish football is very poor. Negligent by the sfa in particular.

the charity may or may not be doing lots of good stuff but their model of care is bullshit and unsustainable. Im not sure what counselling actually does - I’d be getting frustrated if a counselor was just listening - I’d imagine I’d want help and a meaningful intervention.
Counselling and support is a million times better than a ‘quick fix pill’ which most GPs will fling at a patient when presenting with mental health problems . Not the GPs fault in the slightest they are just ill equipped and overworked to understand a persons needs most of the time.
 

TNT

Well-Known Member
Official Ticketer
Four Scots footballers have been saved from suicide by a mental health charity in the past week as the coronavirus crisis wreaks havoc.

Dozens of stressed-out footballers are flooding Stirling-based Back onside with cries for help and they are currently working with 83 players from clubs across the SPFL.


Forty - footballers and members of the public - are in a three-month counselling course but the numbers are described as the tip of the iceberg as players try to come to terms with financial anxiety and a lack of structure to their lives with games and training cancelled.

Former Hibs and Scotland star Garry O’Connor, is an ambassador for the charity run by his partner Libby Emmerson and before lockdown was touring the country speaking to clubs and players about the need to look after their mental health.

He said: “The charity is going through a crisis scenario at the moment because it is so busy and needs more funding to provide the help that’s needed.

“This period is affecting the mental health of so many people. “Even before football stopped, we worked with a lot of players but in recent days and weeks more and more have come to us.

“Players are worried they won’t get paid. That affects mortgages, their car payments and that can affect people’s heads.

“Back Onside is unique in that it’s 24/7. The phone is always on. We are always on the end of the line.

“Libby takes calls in the middle of night and she’s speaking to them, trying to calm them down or jumping in the car and going to see them if it seems really serious.


“She could be going out and saving someone’s life.

“I don’t know how many lives Libby’s saved in the last couple of weeks. As I said, it’s at crisis point. There are more and more people being driven to want to take their own life and often a call to Libby is the thing that stops them.”

Emmerson, who founded Back Onside two years without any funding from outwith donations and fundraising events, said: “The numbers are frightening. The 83 are just SPFL, that’s not counting the juniors and amateur clubs. The numbers are ridiculous.

“More are coming since the coronavirus pandemic hit. Some are guys we’ve been in touch with previously but a lot are calling for the first time. They’ve been feeling anxious and their worries are now heightened.


From last Monday to Thursday, we had four players who were thinking about suicide.


The awareness that we are here has grown since Andy Robertson made his donation. More players are thinking: ‘well if Andy’s backing them, they must be trustworthy.’

“If we were able to put everyone in counselling who have come to us since coronavirus, we’d be hitting 100.

“That not just footballers, but a lot more footballers are getting in contact. From the top clubs to amateurs.


“On Saturday, I had 22 players contact me. They’re worried and need to speak to somebody. They are the man of the house and panic is setting in. What are they going to do with a routine? They are missing the structure, the dressing room banter, the exercise and the games on top of financial anxiety.

“Total panic is setting in.”

Apart from those who have lost and will lose their lives, this is the real cost of this virus!

The mental strain on everyone is unbelievable.
 

TNT

Well-Known Member
Official Ticketer
Counselling and support is a million times better than a ‘quick fix pill’ which most GPs will fling at a patient when presenting with mental health problems . Not the GPs fault in the slightest they are just ill equipped and overworked to understand a persons needs most of the time.
I was on the phone to my GP for 20 minutes yesterday due to the effect it's having on me. And, they are struggling. I could tell by what she was saying.

If it IS a quick fix for the moment - so be it!

But, there is no point whatsoever in doctors referring you for further treatment at the moment. Because it's not going to happen until this is all over. Everything is on hold.

Your GP IS still there for you though. And that is important.

I think as things progress, hopefully more mental support will be available - whether online or on the phone. As that can still happen without actually meeting.
 

barclay_bear

Well-Known Member
I was on the phone to my GP for 20 minutes yesterday due to the effect it's having on me. And, they are struggling. I could tell by what she was saying.

If it IS a quick fix for the moment - so be it!

But, there is no point whatsoever in doctors referring you for further treatment at the moment. Because it's not going to happen until this is all over. Everything is on hold.

Your GP IS still there for you though. And that is important.

I think as things progress, hopefully more mental support will be available - whether online or on the phone. As that can still happen without actually meeting.
Sorry to hear, speaking from experience any meds doctors give you would take weeks to start doing any good. There are lots of self help resources that have been proven to be just as effective if not better and make a difference quicker.

if I had to make a choice over meds or online cognitive behavioural therapy it would be the latter.

this is a great site for anyone who is having issues with mental health.


You don’t have to live in Glasgow to use this online service.




 
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TNT

Well-Known Member
Official Ticketer
Sorry to hear, speaking from experience any meds doctors give you would take weeks to start doing any good. There are lots of self help resources that have been proven to be just as effective if not better and make a difference quicker.

if I had to make a choice over meds or online cognitive behavioural therapy it would be the latter.
I am on medication anyway - increased the dose. We did discuss it will take time - but, there is no end in sight, so felt it was worth it.

CBT was also discussed - to look into that when the situation improves.

In the circumstances.................I can't ask any more!

Even just speaking to the doctor made a big difference.

We are in this together.
 

gorbalsbear

Well-Known Member
Mental health provision in Scottish football is very poor. Negligent by the sfa in particular.

the charity may or may not be doing lots of good stuff but their model of care is bullshit and unsustainable. Im not sure what counselling actually does - I’d be getting frustrated if a counselor was just listening - I’d imagine I’d want help and a meaningful intervention.
I'm assuming by reading this message you haven't been in the situation and guessing about the counselling bit, if so maybe listen to people who have been affected and helped by visiting counselling, I'm not saying it helps for everyone but it had certainly saved lives.
 

sg9375

Well-Known Member
i think the whole situation in life in general will affect a lot of people! None of us have ever been asked to live like this before. Scary times. Stay safe Bears.
 

BlueFox

Active Member
Not sure this fits exactly in this particular thread but I'll post it anyway as I no longer have access to the lounge.

I work in child & adolescent mental health. The majority of my practice is delivering 1-2-1 therapeutic interventions at school or at home. This is no longer viable due to school closures and clinicians being directed to work from home. I'm effectively now a telephone counsellor.
The emotional wellbeing of the CYP I work with was already already in a poor state and is becoming steadily worse due to current circumstances. School was a respite for a lot of CYP coming from abusive/neglectful homes. For many it was their only safe space and the only place they were guaranteed to be fed and looked after properly. The fact that they no longer have that safety blanket is terrifying for them and extremely worrying for health professionals trying to continue with packages of care.

A lot of my clients are on the ASD spectrum or have other neurodevelopmental disorders who are already highly anxious and lacking in motivation and self-esteem. Some of them now think the world is about to end and it's having a massive impact on their mental health. In the last few weeks I have noticed a very large increase in self-harming behaviours and suicidal ideation amongst my client group which ranges from 7 - 19 years of age. On top of this I have parents/carers, many with their own difficulties, freaking out because they are either clueless, careless or so consumed by their own problems that they cannot look after their children properly.

To put it mildly, it's all going downhill fast for these CYP and only getting worse. Many of my colleagues are beginning to struggle themselves with increased workloads putting them under enormous amounts of pressure. Resources were already very stretched before the current situation and are now close to breaking point.

The most worrying thing for me is not being able to read facial cues and the body language of my clients as I would normally do face to face. I know some kids will just tell me they're alright over the phone knowing I can't challenge them effectively. Some parents don't even let me talk to their kids telling me they're fine and not to worry but i'm certain some of them are in danger.
The fallout of this will be many fold and will take a very long time to right itself. I'll be astonished of suicide rates in CYP do not spike. Large amounts of CYP will be beaten on a daily basis. Kids will be cutting themselves in their bathrooms and bedrooms. Child Sexual Exploitation will go through the roof. Parents will fight in front of kids, many will separate and staff sickness levels will increase massively.

The sooner this shit show ends the better for all of us. It's going to be a long haul but we'll get there. Eventually.

Apologies to OP. I don't mean to hi-jack your thread but i had to post this somewhere.
 

Coopers left foot.

Well-Known Member
I don’t want to sound harsh but they are. Missing the crowds cheering them on and without a doubt I believe not just footballers but many others are going to feel wtf has happened in my life.

Mental health is a killer and I Hope most are coping with lockdown and acceptance of it to save them and loved ones.

Stay safe troops and stay home as I did over 3 weeks ago.
Most of them will be lower league players mate, sweet fa to do with egos. Bills and families are their worries.
 

barclay_bear

Well-Known Member
Not sure this fits exactly in this particular thread but I'll post it anyway as I no longer have access to the lounge.

I work in child & adolescent mental health. The majority of my practice is delivering 1-2-1 therapeutic interventions at school or at home. This is no longer viable due to school closures and clinicians being directed to work from home. I'm effectively now a telephone counsellor.
The emotional wellbeing of the CYP I work with was already already in a poor state and is becoming steadily worse due to current circumstances. School was a respite for a lot of CYP coming from abusive/neglectful homes. For many it was their only safe space and the only place they were guaranteed to be fed and looked after properly. The fact that they no longer have that safety blanket is terrifying for them and extremely worrying for health professionals trying to continue with packages of care.

A lot of my clients are on the ASD spectrum or have other neurodevelopmental disorders who are already highly anxious and lacking in motivation and self-esteem. Some of them now think the world is about to end and it's having a massive impact on their mental health. In the last few weeks I have noticed a very large increase in self-harming behaviours and suicidal ideation amongst my client group which ranges from 7 - 19 years of age. On top of this I have parents/carers, many with their own difficulties, freaking out because they are either clueless, careless or so consumed by their own problems that they cannot look after their children properly.

To put it mildly, it's all going downhill fast for these CYP and only getting worse. Many of my colleagues are beginning to struggle themselves with increased workloads putting them under enormous amounts of pressure. Resources were already very stretched before the current situation and are now close to breaking point.

The most worrying thing for me is not being able to read facial cues and the body language of my clients as I would normally do face to face. I know some kids will just tell me they're alright over the phone knowing I can't challenge them effectively. Some parents don't even let me talk to their kids telling me they're fine and not to worry but i'm certain some of them are in danger.
The fallout of this will be many fold and will take a very long time to right itself. I'll be astonished of suicide rates in CYP do not spike. Large amounts of CYP will be beaten on a daily basis. Kids will be cutting themselves in their bathrooms and bedrooms. Child Sexual Exploitation will go through the roof. Parents will fight in front of kids, many will separate and staff sickness levels will increase massively.

The sooner this shit show ends the better for all of us. It's going to be a long haul but we'll get there. Eventually.

Apologies to OP. I don't mean to hi-jack your thread but i had to post this somewhere.
Cap doffed
 

Gazza's one last run

Well-Known Member
Footballer's escapes from the pressures of "everyday life" were training and playing. Those escapes have been taken away from them. Easy to say, but stay strong lads.
 

Up the road

Well-Known Member
Having episodes of anxiety myself over the years one thing I always found very helpful in those difficult times was fresh air and plenty of exercise. Tiring out the body seemed to help calm the brain down and stop worries becoming overwhelming and out of control. I would imagine exercise for any footballers with depression or anxiety may well also be a coping mechanism. Staying cooped up at home most of every day with no clear end in sight will possibly be more frightening for some than catching the virus itself. I personally do not think our NHS is equipped at the best of times to help quickly enough to treat mental health so I would be very worried for anyone who becomes anxious or depressed over the next few weeks with the stay at home restrictions we have in place. Worrying times.
 

CupGoalie

Well-Known Member
Mental health provision in Scottish football is very poor. Negligent by the sfa in particular.

the charity may or may not be doing lots of good stuff but their model of care is bullshit and unsustainable. Im not sure what counselling actually does - I’d be getting frustrated if a counselor was just listening - I’d imagine I’d want help and a meaningful intervention.
You shouldn't be commenting on these things if you have no fucking clue what you're talking about, and you clearly don't
 

Bluegeo64

Active Member
If footballers are struggling with mental health just think how the people laid off or the self employed with no work are feeling
Good point- if you watch the news at the moment the impression given is that we all going to die. As someone said recently we need to make sure the solution to corona virus ( shutting the whole country down and putting millions at financial risk as well as creating despair in loads of otherwise hard working people) isn't worse than the problem. Hopefully we can all follow the hygiene social distancing and self isolation protocols and get this under control quickly to allow us a return to some normality soon. For those suffering mentally forums like this can be a good help too. For those able get a good walk or run during the day- gets the endorphins going and creates feel good factor
 

Lizzy's 11

Well-Known Member
A lot of people are struggling not just footballers. It's a sad fact but a lot of footballers who aren't on particularly great wages live beyond their means to portray a lifestyle that they think is expected of a football player.
 

Maximus

Well-Known Member
Not sure this fits exactly in this particular thread but I'll post it anyway as I no longer have access to the lounge.

I work in child & adolescent mental health. The majority of my practice is delivering 1-2-1 therapeutic interventions at school or at home. This is no longer viable due to school closures and clinicians being directed to work from home. I'm effectively now a telephone counsellor.
The emotional wellbeing of the CYP I work with was already already in a poor state and is becoming steadily worse due to current circumstances. School was a respite for a lot of CYP coming from abusive/neglectful homes. For many it was their only safe space and the only place they were guaranteed to be fed and looked after properly. The fact that they no longer have that safety blanket is terrifying for them and extremely worrying for health professionals trying to continue with packages of care.

A lot of my clients are on the ASD spectrum or have other neurodevelopmental disorders who are already highly anxious and lacking in motivation and self-esteem. Some of them now think the world is about to end and it's having a massive impact on their mental health. In the last few weeks I have noticed a very large increase in self-harming behaviours and suicidal ideation amongst my client group which ranges from 7 - 19 years of age. On top of this I have parents/carers, many with their own difficulties, freaking out because they are either clueless, careless or so consumed by their own problems that they cannot look after their children properly.

To put it mildly, it's all going downhill fast for these CYP and only getting worse. Many of my colleagues are beginning to struggle themselves with increased workloads putting them under enormous amounts of pressure. Resources were already very stretched before the current situation and are now close to breaking point.

The most worrying thing for me is not being able to read facial cues and the body language of my clients as I would normally do face to face. I know some kids will just tell me they're alright over the phone knowing I can't challenge them effectively. Some parents don't even let me talk to their kids telling me they're fine and not to worry but i'm certain some of them are in danger.
The fallout of this will be many fold and will take a very long time to right itself. I'll be astonished of suicide rates in CYP do not spike. Large amounts of CYP will be beaten on a daily basis. Kids will be cutting themselves in their bathrooms and bedrooms. Child Sexual Exploitation will go through the roof. Parents will fight in front of kids, many will separate and staff sickness levels will increase massively.

The sooner this shit show ends the better for all of us. It's going to be a long haul but we'll get there. Eventually.

Apologies to OP. I don't mean to hi-jack your thread but i had to post this somewhere.
My heart goes out to you, your colleagues and patients. It doesn't bear thinking about how many people will lose there lives during this pandemic outside of the virus.
 

BlueLagoonCo

Well-Known Member
Good point- if you watch the news at the moment the impression given is that we all going to die. As someone said recently we need to make sure the solution to corona virus ( shutting the whole country down and putting millions at financial risk as well as creating despair in loads of otherwise hard working people) isn't worse than the problem. Hopefully we can all follow the hygiene social distancing and self isolation protocols and get this under control quickly to allow us a return to some normality soon. For those suffering mentally forums like this can be a good help too. For those able get a good walk or run during the day- gets the endorphins going and creates feel good factor
Defo mate. Even folk like nurses or just every day normal people that have family who are a high risk of catching it must be feeling it mentally also.
 

Ally Shuffle

Active Member
Not good to hear - this is very trying times for even the strongest willed people.


Hope everyone keeps safe through this all
 

SecondBestIsNothing

Well-Known Member
Might be a blessing for them as they now realise when they get back to playing football they need to prepare for their lives post-retirement
 

bearspakora

Well-Known Member
When many people's everyday routine is suddenly taken away, it is a massive jolt to their emotional well being. People need structure, routine and security.
 
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