Scotland legend Colin Hendry and his St Johnstone footballer son Callum have encouraged people to not bottle up their emotions as part of a new suicide prevention campaign.
The pair took part in a question and answer session about mental health for FC United to Prevent Suicide.
The initiative is part of Suicide Prevention Week and aims to reach more people through football-related stories in a bid to reduce the number of deaths by suicide, of which there were 805 in Scotland last year.
The Hendrys both shared their battles with mental health issues, most notably Colin’s struggles following the death of his wife, and Callum’s mum, Denise in 2009.
Denise and Colin met while the defender played for Dundee almost 40 years ago. The pair enjoyed 22 years of marriage and brought up three children together, but tragically Denise died after complications brought about by cosmetic surgery.
Colin, who starred for clubs north and south of the border, admitted he turned to alcohol and gambling following her death, but stressed the importance of having someone to communicate with.
He said: “The most important thing is to reach out and just speak. Just say anything to anybody and somebody will get the idea that something’s not right. It’s so, so important.”
Callum, 23, echoed his dad’s sentiments and revealed that opening up to club physios at Blackburn helped him cope while recovering from serious injury.
The St Johnstone forward said that he was close to giving up on football, but found solace in sharing his problems.
‘Don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t speak’
He said: “I had one stint in my whole life where I was really bad [with mental health]. I was 17, I’d just come back from my ACL the second time. I said to dad I couldn’t do it. I just wanted to sack it off and go out.
“Half way through the rehab at Blackburn, as soon as I started running I knew I was at the finish line of my injury.
“The physios at Blackburn were amazing with me. It was just talking to them about anything – just talking. Instead of just going into digs, sitting in a room thinking ‘my career’s done and I’ve not even started it yet’.
“It was a very important lessons learned actually, realising to talk about it after the injuries because I don’t know where I’d be now if I didn’t.”
Watch the full video and hear from others in the world of Scottish football on the United Against Suicide Prevention YouTube channel.
- If you need someone to speak to: Call 116 123 to talk to Samaritans
- Call 111 to talk to NHS 24
- Call 0800 83 85 87 to talk to Breathing Space. Open 24 hours on weekends and 6pm to 2am on weekdays (Monday — Thursday).