Kibble Group, a leading child and youth care charity, is offering mental health support to employees at St. Mirren FC.

Early this year, Kibble Group became a major shareholder of St. Mirren FC and created a unique partnership, as well as strengthening employment and training opportunities for Kibble young people, St. Mirren FC and the wider Paisley community.

Covid-19 has posed many mental health issues across the country, and with reports that 47% of Scots have experienced negative mental health issues since lockdown was implemented, now is a crucial time to ensure the wellbeing of the wider Kibble and St. Mirren team.

The service will offer staff, players and management private, online one-to-one sessions with Kibble’s psychologists as well as access to a confidential phone service manned by one of Kibble’s experienced staff therapists seven days a week.

The stigma surrounding men’s mental health in sport has increasingly been a subject of discussion, and this evening (Thursday, 28 May), in a BBC1 documentary the Duke of Cambridge meets with professional footballers to explore what role mental health plays in ‘the beautiful game’.

While Kibble will launch the service with St. Mirren FC, it hopes to open the confidential line up to professional footballers across the country, supporting them through the pandemic and beyond.

Chief Executive of Kibble and Director of St Mirren, Jim Gillespie, said: “Our number one priority throughout this pandemic has been to protect and support our staff as best we can, but it’s important to extend that support, where possible, to the players that need it.

“Our team of psychologists are hugely experienced, and we have recently seen the benefit of providing such a service when we offered residential care workers throughout the sector a ‘Safe Space to Talk’. With the additional stresses we have all faced as a result of the pandemic, it is more important than ever that we emphasise the value of taking the time to talk. It’s the ambition of the club to have a successful season and supporting players and St Mirren through mental health wellbeing will go a long way to achieving that.”

Jim Goodwin, St. Mirren manager, said: “Football has long had a macho culture, and the human aspect of the game has often been overlooked, so it is vital that we make a conscious effort, especially at this time, to make sure our whole team is well looked after.

“Kibble gives us access to a range of expertise which can help us make St. Mirren the best team to work for, play for and, of course, support.”

The online and phone sessions will operate on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am – 6pm, and Thursday’s from 12pm – 8pm. Appointments will also be available at weekends where needed.

Main photo: Jim Gillespie (Kibble CEO)

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News