A North Belfast man who lost a close friend to suicide four years ago has set up a new initiative designed at helping young footballers deal with mental health issues. New Lodge man Joseph Donnelly, who lost his friend Thomas ‘Tammy Tucker’ McLaughlin in 2008, has formed the Tackling Against Mental Health Issues Football Community (TAMHI FC) to advise clubs on how to have a positive impact on the mental wellbeing of their players.

The project, set up with the help of social entrepreneurship charity UnLtd, focuses primarily on two local clubs, St Patrick’s FC and Carnmoney Youth Development. The clubs will play an introductory match on Sunday (March 25) at St Malachy’s College at 3.15pm. Joseph is currently working on establishing further links to promote the key concepts of TAMHI FC and to ensure as many clubs as possible adopt their principles.

“TAMHI FC has helped inspire a new way of thinking for both clubs, they no longer focus on just the technical and physical aspect of sport development they are taking the lead in promoting positive mental health and using community links with mental health groups and employment and learning groups to ensure the collective development of the young people they serve,” he said.