Everton Football Club Become Ambassadors of Hope

Today Chasing the Stigma can announce that Everton Football Club are the first organisation to become Ambassadors of Hope.

Everton CEO, Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, first-team manager Marco Silva and club captain Phil Jagielka were among the first to undertake brand-new mental health awareness training session, created and delivered by Chasing the Stigma.

The trio joined other senior Everton figures, including Director of Football Marcel Brands, in undertaking the ‘Ambassadors of Hope’ training and have since announced their commitment to have all Everton Football Club members of staffed trained on the programme.

The 20-minute, accredited training session, which took place at the Club’s USM Finch Farm training ground, provided the group with an understanding of mental health and how best to identify the signs that someone may be suffering.

They were also given guidance on how to effectively signpost individuals to support provision using the online resource, The Hub of Hope, and advice on dealing with crisis situations.

Speaking after the training session, Everton CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale said: “When you are provided with the statistics, it is absolutely staggering. As a football club, we are determined to reach out and help.

“We need people to come in and receive support. That means overcoming any concerns related to embarrassment or stigma that may be preventing people seeking help.

“We want people to know there is an opportunity to secure positive mental health support and that it is okay to say, ‘I’m not feeling too good today’.

“It’s also vital to raise awareness of tools like Chasing the Stigma’s Hub of Hope app, which is available to all of us to access now in order to help ourselves – or to help signpost others to potentially life-saving support.”

Club captain Phil Jagielka added: “The statistics around how many people need help – or who, very sadly, don’t receive help in time – are alarming and it opens your eyes. Jake coming here to share his own personal experiences and guide us through the protocol – and what to do and how to be helpful – ensures we are better equipped to help someone in need. It’s being there when someone needs you and making sure you ask the right questions.

CEO of Everton in the Community, Richard Kenyon said: “It was a fascinating session, very inciteful. It only lasted 20 minutes but it felt like I learnt a great deal in that time. I feel much better equipped now to deal with situations where somebody might be struggling with their mental health.

“Everton’s commitment to have all our members of staff to go through the training is a really good one and it will be very positive for our staff and everybody that they know.”

Chasing the Stigma founder Jake Mills said: “What we try to do through the Ambassadors of Hope training is to create a baseline level of understanding about mental health. What we’re not trying to do is make people experts, but we don’t believe you have to be in order to have that level of understanding to know what to do in those situations.

“Education is essential if we’re talking about the stigmas attached to mental health and the significant numbers of deaths by suicide. Almost three-quarters of people who died in the last year by suicide were not known to mental health services or had not been seen for at least a year. By doing this training and by educating the people on the routes to follow, we can really reduce those numbers and allow people to know that they are not alone.”

Everton’s commitment to the training comes on the back of an announcement earlier to fundraise to build a new purpose-built mental health facility called the People’s Place, alongside Chasing the Stigma.

The Ambassador of Hope training programme is now live and ready for your organisation. If interested, visit our Ambassador of Hope page for more info.