Neil Lennon backs mental health project supporting middle-aged men

Neil Lennon has helped launch a new football mental health project to encourage middle-aged men to open up.

The Hibernian head coach, who has previously spoken out about his own struggles with depression, kicked off The Changing Room initiative at Easter Road.

The two-year pilot project – between mental health charity SAMH, the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) Trust and Hibs – is aimed at encouraging men aged 30-62 to talk about their mental health.

Official figures show men in Scotland are two and a half times more likely to take their own life than women.

It is the first mental health scheme in Scotland to be funded by global men’s health charity Movember Foundation.

Lennon said: “I’m delighted to support The Changing Room.

“It’s a great opportunity to promote positive mental health and wellbeing and I’d encourage men to get involved in this programme that could be the kick-start to something new in their lives.”

The first group of men taking part in the programme will meet at Easter Road once a week for 12 weeks to start positive conversations about mental health.

SAMH external affairs director Jo Anderson added: “In talking to men we learned that large numbers in their middle years struggle to talk about their feelings, their mental health and how to ask for help.

“Working alongside Scottish football clubs, such as Hibernian, and using the power of football we will bring men together in spaces that they associate with, trust, and feel they belong.

“We hope by starting conversations about mental health that The Changing Room will make a real impact to the lives of those who take part.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) SAMH / PA Wire.