MEN are being encouraged to talk to their friends about their feelings, as part of a campaign that aims to tackle the high levels of male suicide across Leicester and Leicestershire.
A total of 455 deaths by suicide in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland were recorded between January 2015 and June 2021. More than 75% of those deaths – 353 – were men.
The ‘Get the Ball Rolling’ campaign has been devised by the city, county and Rutland councils’ Start a Conversation partnership, and follows a report on male suicide published this year by Healthwatch Leicester and Leicestershire.
It uses sporting references on beer mats, posters and on social media to show men how they can start a conversation with others, and where they can get help if they are struggling with their mental health.
Local brewery Everards is backing the campaign by placing the beer mats and posters in its pubs across the city, county and Rutland.
It’s also got the support of the United Leicester mental health hub, an online platform where members of the local sporting community share their own stories with the aim of helping others to talk and get the support they need.
United Leicester is a partnership of the city’s four professional sports clubs and funded by their respective official charities.
Cllr Vi Dempster, asst city mayor for public health in Leicester said: “We know that many men will feel more comfortable talking about sport than about their feelings, so we’re giving simple tips on ways to begin a conversation that might make all the difference to someone who is struggling.”
Councillor Louise Richardson, county council cabinet lead member for public health, said: “It is so important to encourage more open and honest conversations about suicide and mental health, particularly in men. To have so many parts of the community, like United Leicester and Everards, come together to support Start A Conversation is brilliant.”