The widow of a local footballer says she hopes some good can come from his death with greater support for young men battling mental health issues.
Jayson Alexander was just 32 years old when he died last month. The former Lochee United player was a husband, father and a friend to many across the city.
His untimely death has been a stark reminder of just how “fragile” mental health can be, his widow Lynsey said.
In an interview with the Tele, she revealed if there was “some comfort” to come out of this tragedy it would be that more awareness and support for mental health could be put in place.
She added: “Although the whole issue of mental health has become more known nowadays, I don’t think it is still understood just how life-threatening mental health problems are.
“If you’ve got a broken leg there is something to fix it, if you have a broken mind, nobody can see it’s broken. Sometimes even the person with a broken mind doesn’t know.
“The passing of my husband has affected many people and has also highlighted how fragile mental health can be.
“The results from this – especially in young people and young men in particular, is very worrying.”
Despite facing his own issues the Morgan FP Amateur player had always done his best for his fellow footballers who found themselves struggling.
She added: “Jayson’s team have suffered more than most, anything that can help to stop this happening again has my full support.
“If more awareness for mental health can be put in place from the loss of Jayson, it would give some comfort knowing it has helped others.”
Following Jayson’s funeral last week there was an outpouring of grief and also a message for change.
Vicki Cairney, the wife of Jayson’s teammate, John, said it was more than just “kicking a ball about” after seeing the football community rally around Jayson’s family.
Speaking on social media she said her perception of football had changed as a result of the “support network” she had seen after the midfielder’s death.
She wrote: “In recent days given everything that happened I’ve realised just how important the game is.
“There has maybe been a case of myself moaning in the past that football takes time away from the family.
“In seeing the way that support network has helped these lads I realised for the first time that it is so much more than just kicking a ball about.
“I just wanted to share my own thoughts and it’s had a great response. Men’s mental health is so important nowadays.
“There is a need from partners and wives to be more supportive of men playing football opposed to just seeing it as time away from the family.”
As work goes on to try and heal the loss of a teammate, projects like the charity, Back Onside, are also working with Morgan FP in the coming days.
The organisation primarily focuses on trying to address some of the problems with mental health in the modern game.
Libby Emmerson, founder of the charity, launched the organisation in 2018 after she attempted to take her own life and was saved by a footballer.
Through its patrons and ambassadors across Scotland – including local player and Ex-Aberdeen star Jamie Winter – the charity has been working on “changing room chats” to share stories and get people talking.
She added: “Every club we work with we’ve encountered three or four players who are facing problems.
“The service is completely confidential, even if it is just a chat with someone out with their family we are able to assess if they maybe need more support in the form of counselling.
“I thought it was very powerful the post Vicki Cairney had put out there. Around 60% of the folk we are working with just now are in the Dundee area.
“Some of those people are in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with us or just drop in-sessions.
“We will continue to work hard to help day and night to provide that support for those who need it.”
For those who would like more advice they can reach Libby Emmerson on 07528 243 100. If you’re struggling, you can you can also contact the Samaritans on 116 123.
Link to Evening Telegraph article here