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Rovers head battle against mental health

The EFL’s partnership with mental health charity, Mind, has seen some fantastic work carried out by all 72 Clubs in raising the visibility of mental health problems within football.

20 February 2019

Sky Bet League One side Doncaster Rovers, alongside the club’s Foundation, have built mental health workshops and social cafes into their ‘Fit Rovers’ project.

The 2017/18 PFA Community Player of the Year for League One, Matty Blair, regularly attends the sessions and has openly talked about his own mental health journey following the loss of his younger brother Ross to cancer in the summer of 2017.
Club Doncaster’s Group Head of Marketing & Communications, Shaun Lockwood, said: “The social cafes are a great example of something where we can add real value through partnering with people like Mind.
“We’ve seen some of them really come out of their shells over the course of the sessions and develop relationships with our staff and players. 
“Everyone across the club has really engaged with the cafe’s players like Matty Blair, who has been at every session, again showing his commitment, while other players like Joe Wright and James Coppinger have stopped by to have a chat.”
Rovers and NHS Doncaster CCG, created a unique design competition, where children and young people from across the borough were invited to design the club’s third kit for the current campaign.
More than 300 children entered the competition and the winner was local child, Nate Nisar, who entered the competition through his school.
The 11-year-old, whose design came out top, chose the wide variety of colours to represent the different emotions people can have going through their head.
Club captain, Andy Butler, added: “The shirt stands out and really catches the eye, it is something the fans have really warmed to as it’s not like any shirt I’ve seen before.
"We had a few options put in front of us, and this one stood out. It is colourful, bright and something that has never been done before - we went round the team and they all thought this stood out and it was an honour to wear it in our game against Burton Albion back in January.
"It is great that the club have done a kit to raise awareness of a good cause for the third year in a row.”
Figures from the Office of National Statistics show there were 85 suicides in Doncaster between 2015 and 2017.
In 2017, 5,821 suicides were recorded in Great Britain. Of these, 75% were male and 25% were female. One person in 15 had made a suicide attempt at some point in their life.
"We've had lots of discussions with the different parties from the health and care sector over recent seasons and it's clear that given our place in the community we can really help raise awareness of mental health in Doncaster and beyond,” said Lockwood.
"Our plan is to help reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues and help break down the barriers people have when talking about mental health problems.
“This is a culture we’ve built over several years and we hope will only continue to grow in the future."

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