Men United Against Suicide FC: Tackling Mental Health on and off the Pitch.
Breaking the Silence, Building a Supportive Community, and Empowering Lives Through Open Conversations and Grassroots Football.
Men United Against Suicide Football Club (MUASFC) is a remarkable community project founded by Lou Malone in November 2022, aiming to combat male suicide rates through the power of football and open conversations. The club provides a safe, inclusive environment where members not only play football but also discuss their struggles, ask for help, and receive direction to appropriate support resources.
The concept for MUASFC arose from Malone’s personal experiences with mental health issues, which he has bravely shared in an attempt to encourage others to speak up and seek help. Recognising the therapeutic benefits of exercise and open conversation, Malone envisioned MUASFC as a haven where people could escape the pressures of everyday life, engage in physical activity, and have open, stigma-free discussions about mental health.
Lou emphasises the positive impact of exercise on his mental health, saying, “Probably the biggest, most positive thing I can do for my health issues is exercise. It helps me forget about the stresses of my working day. Whether it’s running, hiking, golf, or football, these activities help me manage my mental health.”
“I wanted to give people in my community a safe and inclusive environment to get away from the stresses of everyday life. A place where they can come together, exercise, but more importantly, talk, laugh, share, and have fun without any stigma attached.”
The “S” Word.
The importance of such a club becomes apparent when considering the stark statistics on male suicide. In the UK, nearly 12 men lose their lives to suicide every day, and suicide is a leading cause of death for men under the age of 50. Moreover, men account for 75-80% of deaths by suicide. There is a pressing need for initiatives like MUASFC that directly address men’s mental health and provide a platform for open dialogue between teammates and remove the hesitance for men to talk about suicide.
Fundraising for Local Charities.
As a registered Community Interest Company, MUASFC has achieved significant milestones in a short span of time. The club has partnered with Northern Premier League team FC United of Manchester, raised over £8000 via JustGiving for local charities, and launched a club shop selling merchandise and club kits. The club has nearly 50 registered players and over 1000 followers on social media.
The Role of The Teammate.
The role of teammates in identifying and responding to mental health issues among their peers becomes critical. Teammates can often be the first to notice signs of distress or changes in behavior. Encouraging open conversations about mental health within the team can make it easier for those struggling to reach out for help. Furthermore, the supportive environment provided by MUASFC allows individuals to share their experiences, seek advice, and draw strength from their peers’ understanding and support.
However, it’s important to note that while teammates can play a crucial role in spotting mental health issues, professional help should always be sought when necessary. The club embodies this principle by not only providing a supportive space for open discussions but also directing individuals to the appropriate professional resources when needed.
What Next for Men United Against Suicide FC?
MUASFC has an exciting lineup ahead, including games against Greater Manchester Police and Rochdale Military Veterans. They are also planning a sponsored charity walk in the Peak District and a significant charity event featuring auctioned prizes, including a Manchester United signed shirt.
The establishment of the new Men United Against Suicide FC team in Coventry marks an exciting chapter in the organization’s growth, as they join forces with local partners, secure a valuable sponsorship from Pinboard Media, and set out to create a safe and inclusive environment in the heart of Coventry.
MUASFC serves as a testament to the transformative power of sports and community.