A football club has been established in memory of Daniel Johnson, a young amateur footballer who tragically took his own life. The club, called Football in Mind, aims to create a supportive community where men can openly discuss mental health. Founded by individuals who were close to Daniel, the club provides access to counsellors and local mental health services. The initiative is intended to offer men of all ages and abilities a space to come together and find support.
With the backing of mental health charity Mind, Football in Mind operates every Friday. Daniel’s passing motivated the founders to take action and ensure that others have a place to enjoy themselves and discuss mental health without judgment. The club not only provides an opportunity for men to engage in football but also offers a platform for conversations about mental health. By fostering a supportive environment, Football in Mind aims to break down barriers and encourage open dialogue.
Scott Johnson, Daniel’s father, emphasized that many people who struggle with mental health issues often keep their struggles hidden. He explained that there is a phenomenon called “smiling depression,” which could have been what Daniel experienced. Scott expressed that the club is established to honor his son and ensure that he is never forgotten.
James Newton, a former firefighter and a friend of Daniel’s, recounted the night that led to Daniel’s passing. James received a call for assistance and unfortunately, Daniel’s life could not be saved. The incident had a profound impact on James, leading him to leave the fire service due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This experience further highlighted the importance of mental health support and inspired James to become involved in Football in Mind. He believes that the club can serve as a lifeline for individuals who may be silently struggling.
To commemorate Daniel’s life and raise awareness about mental health, Football in Mind is organizing a charity event on October 7th at the Eynsham Sports Pavilion. The event aims to raise funds for two causes: the Thames Valley Air Ambulance and the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). It is an opportunity for the community to come together, support these important organizations, and remember Daniel. By participating in the event, individuals can contribute to the ongoing efforts to destigmatize mental health issues and provide vital resources to those in need.
If you or someone you know has been affected by the topics discussed in this article, the BBC Action Line offers assistance. Stay updated with BBC South on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages, and feel free to share your story ideas with them via email.