Emma's tribute to her dad deserves our applause

ON January 26, Emma Bryant is hoping Fratton Park will ring out with the sound of a minute's applause in tribute to her dad.

Monday, 14th January 2019, 4:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 9:05 am

As he was an avid Pompey fan, Emma wants the 63rd minute of their home game against Queens Park Rangers to be marked with applause on what would have been Mark's 63rd birthday.

This would be poignant enough, but, tragically there is more to the story '“ Mark took his own life last June.

Emma wants the occasion to help raise awareness of mental health, and men's mental health in particular. As she rightly puts it: '˜The applause is to remember him but also to act as a reminder to people that if you are feeling down then not to bottle it up and to talk to someone.'

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The scale of the problem was brought home last year with Project 84, which was created by the charity Calm (the Campaign Against Living Miserably). Its 84 sculptures represented the men who take their own lives each and every week in the UK. That's a staggering 12 a day, or an average of one every two hours.

While we can thankfully say that attitudes to mental health problems have improved across the board in recent years, there are still many who view them as somehow shameful.

As a society we need to shatter this outdated and inaccurate stereotype. Anything that can be done to help extend that conversation to people who may not be aware of it is welcome.

We need to bring these problems out into the open and talk about them '“ not let them fester in the dark and in the solitary minds of those suffering.

And if you don't have people you feel you can trust, there are charities out there who will help. Don't suffer alone or in silence.

Samaritans can be reached 24/7 on the freephone number 116 123, or e-mail [email protected] Mind offers an information helpline on 0300 123 3393 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm.