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27th May 2020

The football club helping men grieve the loss of a child

Reuben Pinder

No parent should have to bury their own child

The stigma around men’s mental health is steadily eroding. It is widely accepted, in theory if not in practice, that everyone fights their own internal battles, it does not make a man weak to suffer from mental health problems, and speaking to someone about your problems is the best first step to overcoming them. This is the broad consensus on the topic. But it’s not as simple as that.

Men still struggle to find ways of processing trauma. Losing a child, either before, during or after birth, is a trauma that nobody imagines having to endure, nobody can prepare for, and will in all cases be incredibly difficult to deal with.

Rob and Charlotte Allen lost their daughter Niamh a few days before Charlotte’s due date. The tragedy inspired Rob to found Sands United, a football club associated with the Sands charity which seeks to help men grieve the loss of a child through team sport.

He spoke to JOE about his own story, and how the club helps its players. Watch the interview below.

Football, Prince William and Our Mental Health airs Thursday at 8.05pm on BBC One and is also available on BBC iPlayer.