Today is World Mental Health Day, and we thought we’d take the opportunity to remind you all of Colin and Michael’s Story we first visited in April last year.
Level Playing Field fans liaison officer Liam spoke to Everton fan Colin over the phone to talk about his Everton fanatic son Michel about football and the community.
Michael suffers from severe health issues.
Colin said: “For 23 years he’s lived in fear of dying.
“When he’s at the game, nothing in the world matters to him but Everton Football Club. He calls the club his family. The fans, the staff, everyone.”
Colin is a father and carer for his son Michael, aged 38. Colin and Michael have been going to watch Everton for nearly 30 years.
He said: “Michael has been going to Goodison since he was 8. We were only going to limited games because of Michael’s health.
“But two years ago, we became season ticket holders because of the new accessible platform in the Park End, and it’s incredible.”
Michael was born with a congenital heart defect and had a transplant 25 years ago; this has resulted in health complications that include having to use dialysis.
Colin is not only Michaels Dad but his also his full-time carer.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Liam spoke to Colin to discuss Michael and his struggles without the freedom to travel to Goodison Park and watch his beloved Everton.
How Michael is getting by without his football fix and how is Michael coping mentally?
He’s not, in all honesty.
Without his football he’s on the Internet all the time trying to find out what’s going on at Everton.
You have to understand that Everton is his life, when it’s sunny we used to go to ‘Finch Farm’ (Everton training ground) once every couple of weeks and the players would stop because they came to recognise him. They would ask him how he was and that made him feel great.
Going from that and watching the lads on the pitch to nothing! It’s really taken him back regarding his mental state.
Going to watch Everton was also an opportunity for Colin to relax and enjoy some quality time with his son, we asked Colin if the lack of match days has also taken a toll on him…
It has… I’m now talking to you in the garden, it’s a lovely spring day, birds are singing, and he’s stuck up in his bedroom.
He’s having all his meals in his room. Don’t get me wrong, he has everything he would ever want in his bedroom. But he’s bored, and you can see it’s affecting him mentally it’s tough to see.
But this is where the club has been fantastic, Rachel Lomax (Access Advisor and Disabled Liaison Officer), from the club, gave us a call a couple of weeks ago to see how we were doing, asked if we were struggling with anything and let us know that she and the club were there for us.
We are called the ‘Peoples Club’, and I genuinely believe that. And not just for disabled supporters, I know the club have been calling 100’s of people just to check-in, and it means so much to us.
If you have been affected by anything you have read in this article, then please contact Liam (email@example.com), and we will do their best to put you in contact with organisations that can help and support you.
Mental health helplines
- Samaritans. To talk about anything that is upsetting you, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit some branches in person. You can also call the Samaritans Welsh Language Line on 0808 164 0123 (7pm–11pm every day).
- SANEline. If you’re experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day).
- National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK. Offers a supportive listening service to anyone with thoughts of suicide. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK on 0800 689 5652 (open 24/7).
- Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). You can call the CALM on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight every day) if you are struggling and need to talk. Or if you prefer not to speak on the phone, you could try the CALM webchat service.
- The Mix. If you’re under 25, you can call The Mix on 0808 808 4994 (3pm–midnight every day), request support by email using this form on The Mix website or use their crisis text messenger service.
- Papyrus HOPELINEUK. If you’re under 35 and struggling with suicidal feelings, or concerned about a young person who might be struggling, you can call Papyrus HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141 (weekdays 10am-10pm, weekends 2pm-10pm and bank holidays 2pm–10pm), email email@example.com or text 07786 209 697.
- Nightline. If you’re a student, you can look on the Nightline website to see if your university or college offers a night-time listening service. Nightline phone operators are all students too.
- Switchboard. If you identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you can call Switchboard on 0300 330 0630 (10am–10pm every day), email firstname.lastname@example.org or use their webchat service. Phone operators all identify as LGBT+.
- C.A.L.L. If you live in Wales, you can call the Community Advice and Listening Line (C.A.L.L.) on 0800 132 737 (open 24/7) or you can text ‘help’ followed by a question to 81066.
- Helplines Partnership. For more options, visit the Helplines Partnership website for a directory of UK helplines. Mind’s Infoline can also help you find services that can support you. If you’re outside the UK, the Befrienders Worldwide website has a tool to search by country for emotional support helplines around the world.