Have a read below of the ‘It’s Not Just Black and White’ campaign launch which is showing solidarity with Gazza.

A campaign that is deserving of your support and which sees a coming together of individuals and organisations for a launch tomorrow night, to coincide with Newcastle’s Championship match against Fulham.

Official Press Release

Football Fans Encouraged To Unite To Tackle Mental Health Issues and Help People Afflicted With Alcohol and Substance Abuse.

The Fulham FC vs Newcastle United game sparked two fans to unite and support a health professional to call for more to be done for those suffering from mental health issues and alcoholism #It’sNotJustBlackandWhite

On the 5th Augusts at 7.45pm, the Fulham FC vs Newcastle United game will see a gathering on social media of an array of football fans uniting to support mental health and alcoholism, with ex-Newcastle player Paul Gascoigne battling the affliction in the public spotlight by being pursued by the paparazzi. Fans of all British clubs in all leagues can share their support via #ItsNotJustBlackAndWhite as well as visiting itsnotjustblackandwhite.net

The campaign leverages a petition by Hugh Shriane, a mental health professional, who said ‘enough is enough’ when The Sun shared recent pictures of Paul Gascoigne battling through his long-term struggle with mental illness and alcohol addiction. This has led to football fans, Tony Malcolm (FFC fan) and Rik Brown, (Newcastle United fan) to unite as they seek to change the existing system that currently doesn’t recognise alcoholism as a medical condition.

Tony’s brother, Dez Malcolm, also a lifelong Fulham fan, attended the Priory Clinic in Roehampton alongside Paul and the link between his sibling and his idol spurred him into taking action having seen a Facebook post from Hugh Shriane, which received 67,000 likes and is gaining momentum. Its aim is to totally overhaul the current system to give more constructive help to sufferers and their traumatised families who are largely left to cope with insufficient help from the medical profession.

Dr Hugh Shriane says, “Alcoholism is not considered a medical condition, but it is obviously linked to underlying mental health issues as medically recognised conditions like Anorexia. At present, Alcoholics Anonymous is the voluntary ‘go to’ organisation for sufferers, but it begs the question why should alcoholics feel shamed into remaining anonymous?”

Founder of the movement, Tony Malcolm says “Fan power has massive resonance and this displays how football fans from all clubs in the British Isles show compassion and get behind a worthy cause which runs counter to how they are often portrayed in the media. This campaign hopes to open up the hidden issues of mental health and encourage men in particular to talk openly about their problems. Mental illness is far from black and white and there are many complex side-effects that families, friends and colleagues often struggle to fully understand. Even Prince Harry is encouraging people to open up about their mental health issues with his ‘Heads Together’ Charity and is working with high profile sportsmen and women, including Rio Ferdinand, to help people open up about their issues with mental health without the stigma that currently surrounds the condition.”

Paul Gascoigne’s sister Anna Kerrigan recently lost her son Jay to mental illness when he was aged 22. On Facebook she has posted how she tried for 9 years to get him the treatment he so desperately needed, but his bi-polar condition went undiagnosed and she was given disinformation whilst Jay descended into problems with addiction. He died in her arms having begged to be sectioned, but no help was forthcoming. It was reported this week that children with mental health problems are having to wait up to three years to receive NHS treatment.

The campaign is appealing to all fans to set aside rivalries to show unilateral support from all over Britain to get numbers behind the movement and sign the petition HERE.

Other brands and organisations are also getting involved.