Saints Foundation launches new Saints By Your Side support


Saints By Your Side will help men with their mental health through a new face-to-face support programme at St Mary's Stadium, launching in full later this year.

This World Mental Health Day, we're proud to announce a new mental health support programme for men in the local area, run by Saints Foundation in partnership with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board, and part-funded by the IMP Trust.

Saints By Your Side is a Southampton FC and Saints Foundation mental health initiative that offers advice and guidance to help fans and the people of Southampton better manage their mental wellbeing. This new programme will support men in the local area through face-to-face group sessions held at St Mary's Stadium, due to commence later this year. The sessions will offer participants a safe space and supportive environment to come together and learn ways to improve their wellbeing.

To launch the new programme, Southampton FC Men's First Team player Mohamed Elyounoussi sat down with the club's Lead Clinical Performance Psychologist Greg Clarke to chat about mental health, how to support others, and why Saints Foundation's support is vitally important for the local community.

People can register their interest in the new programme from today via this self-referral form. Local GP services will also be signposting to the programme. In addition this new targeted face-to-face support, advice and guidance are available to anyone via the Saints By Your Side site.

Launching the initiative, Moi Elyounoussi said: “Mental health is something that affects us all, and having an open-minded community and support system around you can make a huge difference. The more we encourage an open dialogue about mental health issues, the better we can support those most in need.”

Toby Steele, Managing Director of Southampton Football Club, said: “One in four of us is affected by mental health issues, and many more of us know or care for people who are. If you imagine a packed St Mary’s on a matchday, one in four equates to just over the entire Chapel Stand, which shows just how vast this issue is.”

Paul Hedges, Health Projects Manager at Saints Foundation, added: “With suicide the biggest killer of men aged 20-49 in England and Wales, we hope Saints By Your Side will encourage more men to discuss their mental health needs by removing any stigma associated with this. If we talked about mental health as much as we talk about football, we could take huge steps in looking out for ourselves and each other, and working in partnership with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board is a great way to kick-start the much-needed conversation.

"We hope Saints By Your Side will help offer support, guidance, and treatment for those most in need by supplying them with the tools they need to better look after their mental health and wellbeing."

The club’s work in this area is part of its sustainability strategy with The Halo Effect, which is committed to supporting its local community by raising awareness of mental health issues.

To register your interest in the Saints By Your Side programme, or to access advice and guidance, visit its webpage.