SOUTHEND United marked World Mental Health Day by welcoming supporters and members of the club’s Community & Educational Trust programmes to have an inspiring chat with Blues boss Mark Molesley.

The League Two club’s Community & Educational Trust and mental health group Run Free came together at Roots Hall as part of Mind’s Do One Thing campaign.

The charity’s initiative is aiming to inspire people to make one small change to look after their mental health.

Taking place in the Blues Lounge, Mr Molesley spoke with a range of participants from the Southend United Community & Educational Trust and members of Run Free, a local initiative bringing people together through the power of sport, about mental health and its importance.

Nathan Carr, the media and marketing officer at the Southend United Community & Educational Trust, felt the session was a success.

He said: “Mark talked about how difficult Covid-19 has been for the players and management staff.

Southend Standard:

Helpful - Blues boss Mark Molesley stressed the importance of mental health at the session

“He spoke openly about football and the links with mental health.

“One of the key messages was to seek advice and support if ever you are struggling mentally.

“Mark was keen to stress the importance of reaching out whenever there are mental health issues.

“After Mark spoke, he threw the floor open to those in attendance, who could ask questions or contribute to the conversation in any way.

“We had a good variety of people in the room and I’m sure everyone benefited from the session.”

Mr Molesley also revealed how his own players have dealt with mental health problems in the past.

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Mr Carr added: “Mark gave a few examples of people in the team who had gone through certain things.

“He also talked about how young players in the game who don’t go on to have the career they hoped cope mentally after the setbacks.

“Mark told the group how the club helps players who may be struggling mentally after moving to Southend when they are not from the area.

“There were a lot of helpful topics discussed and it was great to have Mark involved with the Southend United Community & Educational Trust for the first time since he took over as manager in the summer.”

Southend Standard:

Beneficial - Southend United manager Mark Molesley spoke out as the club marked World Mental Health Day

Mind’s latest research has revealed that more than 60 per cent of adults and over two thirds of young people felt their mental health deteriorated during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.

Chris Phillips, co-founder of Run Free, is pleased to see the Shrimpers showing support.

He said: “It was a really interesting session. Mark Molesley spoke openly and came across superbly. It was really good for the club to put something like this on and to be taking mental health seriously rather than just sharing a generic press release.

“Everyone took so much from it and were able to ask questions and share their own experiences.

“It was an enjoyable afternoon and we’re grateful to the club for asking Run Free along. The vast majority of our group are Blues fans so they took a lot from it and we’ve also now announced a partnership with the club which will enable us to raise awareness even more.

“This is a topic which needs to be taken seriously and spoken about constantly, not just on World Mental Health Day.”