Sunderland and Millwall players will wear specially designed T-shirts before our fixture at the Stadium of Light this Saturday, to promote North East charity If U Care Share’s annual mental health awareness campaign.
The ‘Inside Out’ campaign coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day in September and encourages people to wear their clothes inside out - as a symbol to get their feelings out in the open and start conversations to save lives.
The campaign was launched at the match at the Riverside Stadium between Middlesbrough and Sunderland earlier this season - but then put on hold following the death of Queen Elizabeth II just days later.
Now both sides have agreed to wear the Inside Out t-shirts again, as arranged before the original fixture between the Lads and Millwall was postponed.
If U Care Share founder Matthew Smith said: “Everyday is suicide prevention day but the Inside Out campaign is a brilliant way to get that message out to people.
“Football is such powerful tool to carry these messages and it is wonderful that Sunderland and Millwall will promote Inside Out by wearing the t-shirts, as we had originally planned in September. They will play their part in spreading a message which saves lives.
“The If U Care Share Foundation was set up to support those bereaved by or at risk of suicide and preventing any family from experiencing what we felt when we lost my brother, Daniel. The Inside Out campaign is now in its seventh year and this year, as the coast of living crisis hits, it is more important than ever to raise awareness of the support that is available, both for individuals and families."
Suicide is the biggest killer of young men under 50 across the country and If U Care Share have been providing vital support and services for more than a decade.
The charity, based in Chester-le-Street, works closely with clubs across the country delivering mental health and suicide prevention workshops with their partners the Premier League, EFL and WSL clubs - since their first session at SAFC Academy in 2011. It also provides practical and emotional support to those affected by suicide as well as individual support to those deemed to be directly at risk.
In August, Matthew completed an 11-day, 289 mile run from the charity’s offices in County Durham to Downing Street to deliver a letter on behalf of 10 prominent UK mental health groups calling on the new Prime Minister to ensure suicide prevention is included in the Government’s Levelling Up paper.
The run also raised nearly £30,000 for the charity which was established after Matthew’s brother Daniel O’Hare took his own life without warning to his family.
Matthew ran in a vest featuring the names of 183 people who died by suicide, dedicated by families and friends, including Daniel, football legend Gary Speed and TV presenter Caroline Flack.