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Movember to deliver poignant message at English stadiums

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Empty season ticket seats at two English football stadiums are being used to raise awareness about suicide prevention after Rotherham United and Darlington FC teamed up with men’s health charity Movember.

The seats at Rotherham’s AESSEAL New York Stadium and Darlington’s Blackwell Meadows home will carry the message ‘Where’s My Mate?’ as part of Movember’s ‘Sport the Signs’ campaign.

The initiative, launched ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day 2023 this Sunday, aims to educate men on how to spot initial signs that a friend is struggling – including when a committed fan misses a game.

The two clubs are located in the two areas with the highest male suicide rates in the UK – the North East and Yorkshire. Rotherham plays in the second-tier EFL Championship, while Darlington competes in the sixth-tier National League North.

Research has revealed that an informal environment, such as a football match, is where most men would feel more comfortable about checking in with a friend.

According to data from the Office of National Statistics, in the UK, men account for three out of every four suicides in the country, and it remains the leading cause of death amongst men aged between 20 and 34.

“We believe that every football fan holds the potential to make a difference in someone’s life,” said Dr Zac Seidler, Movember’s global director of men’s health research.

“With our ‘Sport the Signs’ campaign, we’re turning Rotherham United and Darlington FC’s stadiums into platforms of hope for World Suicide Prevention Day. Through ‘filling’ these empty seats with such a poignant message, we want to remind people that noticing the signs, reaching out and supporting one another can truly save lives.

“As the UK’s leading men’s health charity, the only goal we truly care about is to stop men dying too young, and through this landmark collaboration, we hope to equip men with the knowledge, confidence, and tools that could save another man’s life.”