Glasgow High Kelvinside partners with charity to shine a light on men’s mental health
One of Scotland’s leading rugby clubs is seeking to shine a light on men’s mental health by entering a new charity partnership to end mental health stigma and discrimination.
Scottish amateur side Glasgow High Kelvinside (GHK) has announced it is working with Scotland' s national programme See Me.
The move has been well-received by fans of the club and those involved, with GHK full-back Danny Campbell opening up for the first time about his anxiety to mark the partnership.
The 31-year-old, who is an ambassador for the charity, said he believed rugby had been vital for maintaining mental health.
He praised his team-mates and colleagues for creating a progressive sporting environment when it comes to being able to open up about worries and anxiety.
Speaking of the importance of the links with the charity, Campbell added: “When See Me joined forces with GHK, as one of the older and more established players I saw it as an opportunity to say to people, ‘look, can we talk about this stuff?’
“Some people might see my life and think it’s all good, but there’s a lot of struggle and attrition needed, and the key thing is I’ve got coping mechanisms now.
“It’s very important to help shine a light on talking about things and that people need to find a way to do that.
“See Me is absolutely brilliant, it’s incredible and will make a huge difference to a lot of people who are very vulnerable.
"For people who are trying to project a macho image and anyone who’s anxious about showing their vulnerability, the moment you reveal that you become so much stronger. It makes you stronger to be vulnerable.”
Campbell, who has built his massively successful architecture business Hoko while playing amateur rugby and raising three young children, said the sport offers more than just physical health benefits and backed calls for more openness and less stigma when it comes to discussing men’s mental health.
He said: “My mental health has been a bit of a journey for me. All through high school I was a bit of an anxious person, without any logic to it, which is probably the basis for all anxiety.
"I knew it was rugby for me. It’s a pure release where I can express myself and don’t think about anything else.
“No matter how demanding things have been of my time, I’ve always gone to rugby training twice a week and played on a Saturday. It’s one of the things I don’t compromise on, and that’s really been the backbone of my sanity for a long time."
Campbell added: “The rugby team has been a great support network for me, not just the other players, but the coaches as well.
“They’re always supportive and want you to do well.
"I do lean on the guys. In my younger years I would go into the older guys and talk about work stress and times when I was anxious.
“Nowadays I’m more of a senior player. I try to be more pro-active and speak to the younger guys myself.
"I’ve been at a lot of different rugby clubs over my career, but GHK is a club where you can be open which is why I’ve felt so settled.
“Rugby has been the saviour of my health, physically, emotionally and mentally.”
Toni Groundwater, See Me programme manager for communities and priority groups, said: “We hear phrases like ‘man up’ when it comes to struggling. But you can’t man up out of an illness, and it can make men feel like they can’t tell anyone, or they shouldn’t.
“Men are less likely to ask each other how they are feeling or chat about what they are going through.
"Men can find it really difficult to speak about how they are feeling. They are not encouraged to admit when they are struggling.
"It can be seen as a sign of weakness for men to speak about how they’re feeling. And men can see having feelings as a sign of weakness, which can lead to self-stigma.
“Being part of a sports club or a team can be a really great place to break down those barriers and old-fashioned opinions, allowing people to support each other. But the culture needs to be right so people feel able to speak out.
"We’re working with Glasgow High Kelvinside Rugby Club to create this culture. This partnership seeks to raise awareness of mental health stigma and discrimination and its impact on people’s ability to speak openly and seek help when they need it.
"Through GHK and with the wider rugby community we aim to make real changes that can stop people struggling alone. Role models like Danny are key to this, to share their story and show anyone can struggle.”
If you need support, please call: SAMH on 0141 530 1000; Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87; or Samaritans on 116 123.
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