A group of Palace fans will join their counterparts from Fulham on an away day march from Craven Cottage to Selhurst Park to raise awareness and profile of mental health and male suicide.
A bit of healthy competition sees Palace fans vying to turn Fulham red and blue prior to the match between the two sides on Saturday 2 February, but the opportunity to raise visibility and encourage people to talk and seek help are the main aims of the event.
Two groups of rival fans coming together on a match day to spread awareness through action and speaking about their own experiences is a powerful message, one that fans hope will be a catalyst for inspiring change and encouraging communication. The fans, who will be joined by Foundation CEO Mike Summers, have planned this event to raise awareness, instead of money, and are encouraging more people to join in to get as much support as possible.
Statistics* show that one in four people in the UK suffer from mental health issues, and 84 men take their own life every week, making suicide the country's single biggest killer of men under 45. Statistics like these show how crucial it is for awareness events such as this to become more common in our communities.
Paul Price, a Palace fan who’s helped to organise the walk said:
“Mental Health affects many people directly but also their families and friends too. Mental health is also a key contributor to male suicide so the joint fan walk is aiming to send out a message to encourage people to open up, to talk and to understand that they are not alone.
"Help is out there in many places and in many forms but men typically bottle things up and take on all the pressure which can lead to terrible circumstances.
“From the personal experience of both organisers who have opened up and sought help, we believe that talking is the most powerful tool available and the starting point to recovery or saving a life.”
The walk is taking place on Saturday 2 February, with fans walking the 10.5 miles from Craven Cottage to Selhurst Park. It should take roughly three hours and will be completed at a 'walk and talk' pace! To get involved or to find out more, contact Lee Adams (@Matchwornshirt1) or Paul Price (@HC15OnTour) on Twitter.
If you need help, or want to talk to someone, contact CALM on (Nationwide) 0800 58 58 58, (London) 0808 802 58 58, or visit their website now.
*Statistics taken from CALM, and The NHS Information Centre for health and social care.
Words: Grace Cullen.