Brentford FC and its Community Sports Trust will host a special screening of the film “Steve” to Brentford fans and local community groups on Monday 24 February at Griffin Park. The film, which documents how one man, Ben Akers, lost his friend Steve Yates to suicide, will highlight the difficulties many men face in discussing their mental health and to tackle the existing stigma. The screening coincides with the Duke of Cambridge’s Head’s Up campaign that aims to harness the popularity of football to help show the nation the importance of mental health.
Ben, who created the film after he lost his friend Steve to suicide, has one simple aim - to help men help themselves. He said: “76% of suicides are male. In fact, as a man under 45 the thing most likely to kill me is me: we need to change this and try to prevent mental ill health.”
“We seem to know how to look after our physical health – but we don’t seem to know about our mental health. We hope this event will get men talking and to realise how men need to look after their mental fitness and, if necessary, join a talk club to prevent the next Steve.”
Ben will host a Q&A at Griffin Park after the screening has finished and encourage attendees to have open discussions about their mental health. The event will start at 6pm in The Hive and the film itself will start at 7pm. The event will finish at 9pm.
Lee Doyle, Chief Executive of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, said: “As a football club, we know we have a unique platform to change the conversation surrounding mental health – ensuring that football fans can have open and frank discussions about their wellbeing. We hope to emulate Ben’s passion for this subject through awareness at Brentford games and delivering meaningful change in the communities where we operate.”
Brentford FC Community Sports Trust has already been recognised for its community work surrounding mental health. In partnership with West London NHS Trust, it has been running its Hounslow Hawks FC programme for 11 years and has been crediting with using football as therapy.