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Middlesbrough and Sunderland come together to kick off charity campaign

Two North East rivals will put on-field battles aside to come together in support of a charity.

Middlesbrough and Sunderland will wear t-shirts ‘Inside Out’ before tonight’s (Monday, September 5) Tees-Wear derby, to help launch If U Care Share’s annual mental health awareness campaign.

The Inside Out campaign coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day on Saturday, September 10, and encourages people to wear their clothes inside out – as a symbol to get their feelings out in the open and start conversations to save lives.

Suicide is the biggest killer of young men across the North of England and Scotland, and If U Care Share has been providing vital support and services throughout the region for more than a decade.

The charity, based in Chester-le-Street, has been delivering mental health and suicide prevention workshops with partners the Premier League, EFL and WSL clubs since its first session at Sunderland Football Club academy in 2011.

It also provides practical and emotional support to those affected by suicide, as well as individual support to those deemed to be directly at risk.

This weekend clubs throughout the country have been asked to wear the If U Care Share Inside Out t-shirts.

The campaign comes as the charity’s founder Matthew Smith completes an 11-day, 289-mile run from the charity’s County Durham offices to Downing Street.

On Wednesday, he will deliver a letter on behalf of ten prominent mental health groups across the UK calling on new Prime Minister Liz Truss to ensure suicide prevention is included in the Government’s ‘levelling-up’ paper.

The run, which started a week ago, has already raised more than £25,000 for the charity, which was established after Matthew’s brother Daniel O’Hare took his own life without warning to his family.

Matthew has been running in a vest featuring the names of 183 people who have died by suicide, dedicated by families and friends, including Daniel, Newcastle United and Wales legend Gary Speed and Love Island and TV presenter Caroline Flack.

The letter has been co-signed by representatives from Samaritans, Beyond, Chasing the Stigma, PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide, James’ Place, Harmless, CALM, Rose Paterson Trust, the CSJ Foundation, as well as Matthew on behalf of If U Care Share.

Matthew said: “We’re absolutely delighted that Middlesbrough and Sunderland have agreed to launch the Inside Out campaign this year and help us deliver such an important message.

“We have seen an increase of 300 per cent in the need for our services since the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020.

“As a charity, we are here to support communities, save lives and prevent suicide, and we want as many people across the UK as possible to take up the challenge and go inside out this year with us.

“With pressures like the cost of living crisis impacting individuals and families, it is more important than ever to encourage people close to us to talk about their feelings and access the support that is available.”