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Stones team up with Samaritans

Maidstone United have teamed up with Samaritans to help raise awareness of the charity and its services.

The club will be working with volunteers at the Maidstone branch in the coming months to highlight the range of support that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

The charity responds to a call for help every six seconds and annually answers more than five million by phone, email, text or face to face.

Whatever you’re going through, you can call Samaritans free any time:

  • Call 116 123 from any phone

Calls are free from landlines and mobiles, including pay-as-you-go mobiles. You do not need to have any credit or call allowance on your plan to call 116 123.

You can also email or visit the Maidstone branch on Grecian Street. The branch is open 11am to 10pm every day except on Sundays when it’s 5pm to 10pm.

Bill Williams said: “The sad reality is that suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 and I feel there’s a role for football to play in challenging the stigma of mental health, while championing those who are there to help.

“The football club is a great vehicle to get the message out there – especially to men – that there are organisations such as Samaritans that are here to listen.

“Attitudes towards mental health have changed significantly over the years but there is still more to be done.”

Branch Director Sue Christmas said: “We are thrilled to be working alongside Maidstone United as its such a strong and positive force in our town.

“We want to work with the club to get people talking and listening. Those chats between goals, hopefully, with your friends when you’re standing in the terraces can be so revealing. Ask them if they’re ok and listen to what they say, and don’t say.

“We all share the ups and downs of life on the pitch, it’s keeping that openness going that is the real trick. We want everyone to feel comfortable enough to be able to share their feelings after the whistle is blown.”

Samaritans are sharing real stories from men who have been through tough times, encouraging others to seek help with they need it. To read these inspiring stories, head to the Samaritans website.

Stones Community Trust, a charitable organisation set-up by the club, is developing projects to support men’s mental health. More information will be announced in the near future.