This Saturday is World Mental Health day, and the EFL have teamed up with all its clubs for the ‘Do One Thing’ campaign which aims to inspire people to make one small change or take one action to look after their mental health.
As part of the campaign, and to help spread awareness of why it’s important we talk about how we are feeling, Exeter City goalkeeper Lewis Ward caught up with young supporter Lucas, who at just 14-years-old, tragically lost his father Phillip suddenly and unexpectedly in November 2017.
“We were all pretty shocked as it was so sudden” said Lucas as he tried to think back to when it happened. “It’s hard to think back then and to remember things that happened. It took me a while to process it all. It was so sudden, and we didn’t expect it at all, so it was difficult in that way.”
During the early stages, Lucas and his family took things slowly as they came to terms with their loss“As a family it’s good to talk about memories and things we used to do, places we used to go, to remember the happy moments.
“It took a while to do things and was hard to get motivated, there were a lot of days indoors and I took quite a long-time off school as I couldn’t face it.”
Mind charity’s latest research revealed that more than 60% of adults and over two thirds of young people (68%) felt their mental health deteriorated during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, encouraging conversations around our own mental health and that of others has never been more important. Lucas was keen to emphasise that the most important thing to do is to speak about how you are feeling.
“Eventually when you feel ready, maybe getting a councillor or someone close to you that you might not see all the time, talk to them. It’s always good to speak to someone. It’s different for everyone, some might like to speak to a stranger where they can let it all out without judgement, others to a friend close to you who knows you. There are lots of different ways.”
“When I returned to school, my teachers helped me, and they set up a counselling group at school for people may have lost someone or even a pet. It was a group to talk about how you feel, and it really helped.
“It was good to hear other people’s stories and know I’m not alone, you can talk to people who have had similar or different experiences.”
“I eventually felt a bit better and went without, but I knew I wasn’t quite right, and learning was difficult. When you’ve got bad thoughts in your head it isn’t nice, and you just want to talk about it.
“Sometimes you feel like you can keep it in, but it’s always better to get it out and that’s what I told myself and that I just need to talk to someone and get my feelings out and it really help.”
Speaking about their conversation, Lewis Ward said: “To go through what Lucas did is one of the tragic things that sadly people do have to face and Exeter City is here to support you.
“We want to show people how we can help and by talking about your story make sure other people don’t face it alone.
“Listening to Lucas’ story, I know that if I found myself in a similar situation, I would want to speak to someone about it.”
Exeter City would like to thank Lucas for being so open about his story and Lewis Ward for being such a credit to the club.
If you would like support from Mind visit Mind.org.uk for information and advice. You can also talk to Mind via the confidential Infoline on 0300 123 3393 or text 86463