October 2021 saw the launch of the official Bradford City AFC Mental Health Supporters’ Group - open to each and every City supporter.
Born on World Mental Health Day 2021, the initiative saw City defender Oscar Threlkeld become the club’s official mental health ambassador.
Open to supporters and members of the wider local community of any age, gender, race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation, the Mental Health Supporters’ Group is hosted by City supporter and former Mental Health Clinician and Associate Practitioner - and current Project Manager for Health - Robert Cranmer.
Supporters are able to apply for advice by downloading, completing and returning a bespoke referral form - to email@example.com - which will then be reviewed by Mr Cranmer before the most suitable course of action is explored.
Group supporter sessions are held, as well as advisory one-on-one consultations for supporters who do not currently require general practitioner intervention. These are held virtually, or face to face where possible.
Advice is strictly of a non-clinical nature only, meaning there are no prescriptions or referrals to a general practitioner, though supporters are encouraged to speak with Robert on anything they feel they may need to, and reach out for help.
PLEASE NOTE: All referral forms and consultations are treated with the strictest confidentiality, and not shared with anyone outside the Mental Health Supporters’ Group, unless safeguarding concerns arise.
Speaking on the launch of Bradford City AFC’s Mental Health Supporters’ Group, Mr Cranmer said: “I have personally suffered with mental health difficulties and anxiety, myself, in the past.
“This is the biggest reason why I am excited to be taking on this role, to offer advisory support to our incredible supporters.
“As a former Mental Health Clinician and Associate Practitioner - and current Project Manager for Health - I have been very passionate about the club introducing this, and it is great to see it come to life and have its full support - and that of Oscar Threlkeld.
“It is so important to reach out for support and advice when you feel you need it. Sharing your story with someone who has suffered previously can be enough to change a life, and save a life.”
Threlkeld added: “There is nothing worse than keeping everything inside you, because it all builds up and has nowhere to go. I do advise people to speak up.
“If you do feel you need to have that chat with someone - whether it is a friend, neighbour, family member or even your manager or a psychiatrist - please do.
“I have had depression before, and have had a taste of how it can affect the brain and, personally, performances on the pitch.
“As a footballer, you come in and train, and your mind is not really on anything else other than football. Then, you go home and are left to your own devices in what you choose to think about, which can sometimes be dangerous.
“The best thing to do is speak about it, so I am pleased to be the club’s official mental health ambassador to try and encourage this, because once you speak out, things become so much easier.
“The Mental Health Supporters’ Group is a great initiative and very important resource for people who feel they need help, and I am looking forward to helping as many people as possible, in whatever way that may be.”