Birmingham clubs come together to raise mental health awareness
"I've seen a lot of people in football that go into dark places and there's not a lot of help for them" - Paul Robinson, Birmingham player/coach
By James Dale
Last Updated: 12/04/18 4:41pm
Birmingham City players have helped launch an annual cup to raise awareness of mental health issues.
The Nick Mowl Cup is named after a former Solihull Moors coach and player who took his own life last year, and the organisers also hope to raise funds for charity Kaleidoscope Plus Group so that people can receive mental health first aid training.
Craig Gardner, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Isaac Vassell and Paul Robinson were among those who helped launch the tournament, which kicks off next month and will also include players past and present from West Brom, Aston Villa and Wolves.
"We're trying to help a lot of people come out and speak about the anxieties they've had throughout their lives," Birmingham club captain Robinson told Sky Sports News.
"The tournament is a big statement that we want people to talk about the situations they're in. There's a lot of stresses throughout the world, anxieties, and so many people suffer in silence with it."
Robinson has taken up a player-coach role at Birmingham and plans to move into management when he retires from playing at the end of the season.
He believes clubs could do more to help players suffering with mental health issues.
"Clubs themselves can improve the situations on it," he said. "Particularly for players who have long-term injuries, who won't have that buzz from playing, you can go into dark places. I've seen a lot of people in football that go into dark places and there's not a lot of help for them.
"It's important that there are people there to help them and get them through difficult times."
Please support this event to honour our son/brother/uncle/friend Nick Mowl who left us too soon last year. @BCFC @AVFCOfficial @WBA @Wolves @SolihullMoors @Coventry_City @FoxInTheBox05 @OmniSports_ @Kaleidoscope_PG @Bodie_Hodges @soccer_4_all @B1ackie @ChazfogMBE @theCALMzone pic.twitter.com/qOFIZMY2l3— The Nick Mowl Cup (@thenickmowlcup) March 26, 2018
Kaleidoscope chief executive Monica Shafaq said the charity hoped to launch a suicide prevention text-line with funds raised at the Nick Mowl Cup.
"It can happen to anybody at any time, anyone can suffer and we just want to prevent it happening to anybody else," said Birmingham coach Richard Beale, who was a close friend to Nick Mowl and has helped set up the tournament.
"We don't want anyone to go through what Nick, his family and his friends had to go through.
"He loved his football and to honour him in this way with an annual five-a-side tournament will be very appropriate."
The Nick Mowl Cup takes place on May 12 at Solihull Moors' Autotech Arena. More information can be found at www.thenickmowlcup.co.uk.