In order to formally publicise both campaigns a very talented and enthusiastic football squad of mental health service users organised through PLUS (mental health service user forum) took on Owen Coyle and a team of his young St. Johnstone players at McDiarmid Park recently. Football is a game with no barriers to participation and this was ably demonstrated by all players on the day as 2 exciting 6-a-side games finished with honours even.
The teams wore t-shirts from the ‘see me’ anti-stigma campaign and from ‘Show Racism the Red Card’.
The ‘see me’ campaign challenges the stigma of mental health across Scotland and Campaign Director Linda Dunion said “”Prejudice against people with mental health problems is just not acceptable. St Johnstone FC’s support for ‘see me’ will help to bring mental health issues out into the open and break down barriers that prevent people with mental health problems from seeking the help they need to recover. With one in four local people experiencing mental ill-health it is vital we are all more informed and understanding of mental health problems.”
The Show Racism the Red Card’s Annual Fortnight of Action involves all professional clubs and aims to tackle racism and exclusion through football. Participants in the game received Red Card posters, badges and proudly displayed the Red Card to racism. This is the 2nd year that St. Johnstone have taken part with users of community care services and their help in getting an important message across to often socially excluded groups who themselves are disrciminated against has been invaluable.
The teams were cheered on by Community Care Senior Management representatives David Burke and Jim Dean and Corporate Services Depute Director Alan Nairn who chairs the Perth & Kinross Racist Incidents Multi-Agency Panel (RIMAP). Alan said “All members of the RIMAP are delighted at any opportunity such as this for people to be informed that racism or any other form of discrimination will not be tolerated in Perth & Kinross. Anyone in Perth & Kinross who wishes to report a racist incident can do so by contacting one of the agencies involved in the multi-agency panel – Perth & Kinross Council, Tayside Police, NHS Tayside, Perth Citizens Advice Bureau or Victim Support.”
Both campaigns will also have information materials available for fans at St. Johnstone’s home game against Gretna on Saturday 14 October and in Community Care offices at Whitefriars during the week of 09 October.