The project was set up at the start of December, thanks to a fundraising gala in New York, with the aim of tackling the growing issue of loneliness which is an ever present in our communities and has been described as “one of the greatest public health challenges of our time”.
Loneliness can affect anyone regardless of their background and is different for every person. Some factors can heighten a persons sense of loneliness such as the death of a loved one, retirement or unemployment which means a person loses the social connections of the work place or moving to a new country.
Now while loneliness itself is not a mental health issue there is a strong link between loneliness and mental health. A person may feel like they want to interact socially but issues such as depression or anxiety may prevent them from doing so.
Projects such as “you’ll never talk alone” recognise the impact that loneliness can have on a persons life and are a great method of trying to tackle the issue. The “you’ll never talk alone” events are free of charge and are held in the Number 7 restaurant that overlooks the pitch at Celtic park. The session includes a hot meal, entertainment and staff on hand to give advice or just to listen to people if that is all they require. The sessions run monthly and the organisers are open to feedback on what people attending would like to see. You can get in touch here via email: firstname.lastname@example.org via telephone here: 0141 551 4321.
The Chief Executive of the Celtic FC foundation Tony Hamilton said: “Our project will provide people experiencing loneliness with a chance to come along and socialise in a non – judgemental and safe environment”.
Hopefully the continuing success of “You’ll never talk alone” will inspire other clubs around the country to set up a similar project in their communities to help combat loneliness.
Positive mental health is something that Celtic and their staff have dedicated their efforts to previously. Celtic manager Neil Lennon has been open about his struggles with depression in the past and how he relapsed whilst at Hibernian. The Celtic manager has previously backed a campaign called “Changing Room” which was piloted for two years by the SPFL and mental health charity SAMH and was the first mental health charity in Scotland to be funded by the Movember Foundation. The project was aiming to use football to bring men aged 30 – 64 together to take action on their mental health.
Neil Lennon took time out of his busy winter schedule to come and speak at the launch event for “You’ll never talk alone” giving fans the opportunity to chat and take pictures.
By Adam Curran