Footballers coached in suicide first aid

MORE than 100 islanders have been trained in suicide first aid over the past year, including representatives from local football clubs. Scott Rowe of Vale Rec took on a personal challenge earlier in the year to raise money for the mental health charity Guernsey Mind and worked with the organisation to roll out a suicide first aid course for local football teams with the money. ‘Coaching is an important part of my life, and people can often stick their head in the sand because they are not aware of what to do,’ he said. ‘What better way to create awareness and touch as many people as possible than with football coaches?’ Five suicide first aid training sessions are being held for football representatives of all clubs including women’s clubs. ‘Football is a women’s sport as much as men’s, but men typically hold in their feelings more,’ said Mr Rowe. ‘The campaign is to raise awareness in the best possible way and open minds to those playing football not just having physical injuries but suffering mentally as well.’ He added that he hoped the campaign could act as a blueprint for other sports to get involved. The course teaches the skills to identify someone who may be suicidal and to safely intervene to help create a safe plan as a first aid approach.

Mark Romeril, Head Coach at Vale Rec said“Such a great opportunity to attend the Guernsey Mind Suicide Prevention First Aid Course fantastically delivered by Chris.  Whilst the very subject matter was difficult at times, the interaction of the individuals attending made for an extremely informative evening on a subject that is ever increasingly more and more prevalent at this time.  I think it’s fair to say the majority of us will inevitably be exposed to this subject during our lifetimes and this training and increased awareness might just enable us to go some way towards saving someone’s life”

There will be four more Suicide First Aid courses this season specifically for individuals involved with local football clubs, giving plenty of opportunities for the football community to attend. Guernsey FA Football Development Officer, Angus Mackay commented: "This is a fantastic initiative. The fact that people within local football can access this training free of charge is incredible. These courses could save peoples lives, helping people understand suicide could make the difference, enabling someone to offer support or spot any signs, symptoms or risks. What Scott has done, finding the money to deliver these courses is quite incredible, and we are thankful that Guernsey Mind have made arrangements to deliver the training so quickly. Personally, I am disappointed that I did not get invited to the first course! However, I am sure that I will get the opportunity to attend in the near future!"