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PFA Scotland has signed a partnership with The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and ‘see me’ (Scotland’s national campaign to end stigma and discrimination of mental ill health).


Jack Ross and Stuart Lovell from PFA Scotland attended the partnership launch at an event at Dundee FC’s Dens Park Stadium on Tuesday 31st July, along with many other participants including representatives from SAMH and ‘see me’ and individuals who have tackled mental health issues through the support provided by these organisations.


Commenting on the partnership, Suzie Vestri, campaign director of ‘see me’ said: 'We welcome the commitment of PFA Scotland to work alongside ‘see me’ and SAMH to protect and encourage football players across Scotland with a strong anti-stigma message. It is important to remember that one in four Scots will be affected by mental health problems at some point in their lives. It can happen to sports stars, family members or friends. For those experiencing mental ill health, the support we provide to each other will make all the difference.’


From a PFA Scotland perspective, the relationship formed with SAMH and ‘see me’ is a further extension of the union’s commitment to support players welfare, both in a professional and personal sense. ‘While the protection of player rights and the provision of a platform for player opinion remain strong objectives for our organisation, the ability to provide  assistance and advice for players in areas such as education, gambling awareness and mental health are also of great priority’, explains Stuart Lovell.


Jack Ross added: ‘We are very pleased to formalise our partnership with SAMH and ‘see me’. Already both organisations have provided us with tremendous assistance in creating the extensive information on mental health issues available on our website, and have provided us with the ability to send players to those with the necessary expertise to assist with any problems they may have.’


‘There is perhaps a common misconception that the privileged occupation enjoyed by players should make them immune to mental ill health. However the reality is that they are just as susceptible to the same anxieties and insecurities as any other person. Furthermore, there are circumstances during a playing career such as being released as a young player, retirement, long term injury and others which can impact upon on a player’s mental health added to the fact that the current economic climate within Scottish football ensures that more players are finding themselves out of work, earning lower salaries and facing subsequent financial pressures as a result.’


‘We hope that through this new association we can help to raise the profile and awareness of the work undertaken by SAMH and ‘see me’ and not only be able to help any players with problems but also encourage players to speak openly about the topic of mental health.’


‘Undoubtedly individuals such as Neil Lennon and Danny Swanson - who have discussed the problems they faced - have helped greatly to break down some of the barriers that surround footballers and the admission of mental ill health.’


‘PFA Scotland aims to further promote such progress and to continue to deliver the message that a players mental condition should be regarded in the same way as their physical fitness.’


Stuart Lovell, Suzie Vestri, Ian Crawford and Jack Ross