It is always great to see football used as a force for good and today’s match coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day.

Health care professionals from both the North East and Derbyshire are coming together at the Derby v Newcastle game to encourage football fans to reach out for support if they are feeling ‘off their game’.

Official Newcastle United Statement:

‘Newcastle United are backing an NHS campaign which encourages football supporters to speak up and seek support in relation to their mental wellbeing.

At Saturday’s match away at Derby County, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW), which provides mental health and learning disability services, will team up with Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to encourage football fans to reach out for support if they are feeling ‘off their game’.

Matchday coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day, an annual event to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented.

The theme this year is ‘connect, communicate, care’, and fans heading to the game will be given tips and information on how to improve their wellbeing – and the wellbeing of those around them – by reaching out to others, including contact details for charities and health services that can help in times of crisis.

United fans will be met between the coach park and the ground by local volunteers, with a range of NTW guides available to shine a light on mental health issues.

This will include advice on stress, depression and low mood, anger and sleeping problems. Handy wallet-sized information cards featuring North-East helpline numbers will also be handed out.

Derby County Football Club and Derby County Community Trust have joined forces with groups in their area, including Derbyshire County Council, Derby City Council, the Samaritans and the county’s mental health trust, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, to organise the day.

There will also be videos on the big screen inside the stadium from members of the Rams’ first team squad, giving advice on ways to improve how you feel, and a charity collection will be made for organisations that specialise in suicide prevention.

NTW executive director of nursing and operations, Gary O’Hare, said: “We’re very grateful to Derby County FC and Derby County Community Trust for the opportunity to reach out to Newcastle United fans about this really important subject.

“Every two hours, someone dies in this country as a result of suicide. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 – and it’s something that’s affected the footballing community in recent years, too. Yet many people feel they can’t or shouldn’t talk about suicide, or even how they’re feeling.

“We’re hoping that Saturday’s event will help to challenge that stigma, and show people that it’s OK to talk when you’re feeling anxious, stressed or down. We’re also hoping to bust a few myths along the way – for example, the misconception that talking to someone who is suicidal won’t make any difference.

“The truth is that suicide is a complex condition and often has multiple causes. People are often upset, grief-stricken, depressed or in extreme distress and they want the pain to stop. That’s why it’s so important that people who are feeling low are encouraged to speak up and get help – because it can make all the difference in the world.”