Newcastle United Foundation is proud to welcome United with Pride as Be A Game Changer champions in a shared commitment to offer inclusive mental health support for everyone connected to Newcastle United.
Be A Game Changer is the Foundation’s mental health awareness campaign providing advice on mental wellness and signposts to support with the ultimate aim to reduce suicide rates in the North East and eradicate stigmas surrounding mental health matters.
The commitment to providing a safe and positive space to start conversations about mental wellbeing is especially important for LGBTQ+ people, who are at more risk of suicidal behaviour and self-harm than non-LGBTQ+ people, according to data from Rethink Mental Illness.
Ian Pearson-Brown, co-chair of United with Pride, said: “Our members appreciate having a space where they can talk openly about their experiences to other LGBTQ+ fans and allies who want to see the abuse, stigmas and stereotypes removed from football.
“Gay men are seven times’ more likely to have suicidal thoughts than a heterosexual men and bisexual men are ten times’ more likely to experience suicidal thoughts.
“A quarter of transgender people have attempted suicide multiple times. Worryingly, the mental health of LGBTQ+ youths is just as stark – for example, boys are also seven times more likely to have suicidal thoughts than their heterosexual peers.
“The most powerful weapon we have to combat this is allyship – a little allyship can go a long way to saving somebody’s life. This is why organisations like ours exist to be loud and proud of sexuality or gender identity.”
He added: “Having allies like the Foundation are so important to amplify the message that everyone has the right to be their authentic selves.”
United with Pride’s AGM saw members discuss future plans for furthering LGTBQ+ inclusion and was attended by representatives from Newcastle United, Newcastle United Foundation, Newcastle United Women, Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah, Newcastle Panthers FC, Northern Pride and a host of allies and North East organisations.
The Foundation also hosted a Be A Game Changer presentation for members, sharing campaign information and how the charity can support everyone connected to the club.
Ashley Lowe, Health and Wellbeing Manager at Newcastle United Foundation, said: “We are thrilled United with Pride are Be A Game Changer champions and that they now have a clear channel to advice and tools from our team to promote positive mental wellness.
“We know that the LGBTQ+ community is disproportionately affected by mental health issues in comparison to non-LGBTQ+ people and, as allies, we need to do all we can to reduce stigmas preventing people from asking for help when they need it.
“Sadly, the North East has the highest male suicide rate in England and Wales and when we consider that gay and bisexual men are four times more likely to attempt suicide across their lifetime than the rest of the population, we can use campaigns like Be A Game Changer to save lives in our community.”
New members are always welcome to join United with Pride, with the group regularly hosting matchday social events in safe, respectful space where all supports can be their authentic selves.
Ian, of United with Pride, added: “We’re looking forward to working with the Foundation to help their fantastic Be A Game Changer mental health campaign. If anyone is interested being a part of our family, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or inbox us on any of our social media channels.”
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