Alnwick Town’s Andrew Campbell become their ‘Mental Health First Aider.’

Alnwick Town’s Andrew Campbell become their ‘Mental Health First Aider.’

The statistics are there for all to see and, although there is always a way, there really is, how often are we actually aware of the options available, more when it’s regarding that of mental health matters, especially in children and young people.

With everything that has been going on over the past eighteen months, the world having been caught in the midst of a global pandemic, one north-east football club is doing its utmost to help combat these issues, and in doing so have appointed to their backroom team, that of a ‘Mental Health First Aider.’

According to the website, then:   

“mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people,” a statistic no doubt rising in the current climate, whilst also adding, “alarmingly, however 70% of children and young people who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently young age.”

 Could you recognise the signs? Would you be confident to converse, appropriately, with a minor, about such matters? Can you build, what could be a long-term path of trust, in order to help? Have you got the time, and patience, to, well be there?

There’s so many questions that need asked, and answered, in order to even begin helping a minor that’s for sure.

At Northumberland-based, Bay Plastics Northern Alliance Premier Division club, Alnwick Town, they’ve taken those first, tentative steps forward and seen that of Andrew Campbell become their ‘Mental Health First Aider.’

Speaking of his past experiences, and what he expects from a new role at a club he’s represented for a few years now, Campbell told ourselves at Fine & Dandi that: “I’ve personally had mental health issues myself, suffering a kind of post-natal depression.

“After that transpired I became interested in mental health, going on to get the club (Alnwick Town) involved via that of the NUFC Foundation.

“Alnwick have been great, very open to it all, and we will encourage others to look at dong the same thing – I’d like to think that we’re trailblazers, and that other clubs will follow suit.

“Personally though, and, like many others around me, I do worry, long-term, as to how all this will affect that of the younger generation so, because of that, and my own interest, I’ve found myself doing workshops, interactive sessions online, which I’ve found really interesting.

“In doing the courses, to which people from all walks of life were, it was more directed towards the youth, but it can be for anyone really, and it helps to look at the differing steps, the process, behind the recognition and prevention.

“The main thing though is too let them talk, make no judgements, especially as the younger generation are more wary about opening up – they need to feel that they can do, without pressure.”

Alongside working with the NUFC Foundation and Be A Game Changer campaign, Andrew has become the first point of contact for those at Alnwick Town, he also coaches the clubs’ U12s Tigers.

Already building up ideas of his own in which to implement, with the club, moving forward, Adam is well-placed to continually help that next generation of athlete, footballer, and not just in an on-field, playing capacity.

“”I want to be able to hold regular sessions here, not to teach them though, but so they know that they have somewhere they can go to, should they need to.

“That’ll be implemented throughout the club really, and I’ll be getting myself out there, being active, because again, from personal experience, I let things spiral myself, and didn’t nip it in the bud early like I should have done.

“That makes things more difficult moving forward so I’ll take the time, listen, and let them be as open as they want to be, for them to be able to talk as much, or as little, was they want to themselves.”

As mentioned, and a good port of call within the beautiful game, was Andrew’s working with the Foundation, and Be A Game Changer, which he has done for the past twelve months plus, something which came about from himself, and Thomas Graham, having mutual interests, including both coaching U12s football in the same league.

“They’ll be doing so much to help people back into society when we come out of all this,” concluded Andrew.

“Grassroots sport, it’s for the enjoyment, being out with your mates, and the social aspect of it all; they’ve been starved of that.”