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Teenage footballer's death triggers pioneering mental health scheme at his Chippenham club

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A pioneering scheme to spot the signs of teenage depression is being rolled out following the death of a young footballer from Wiltshire.

Josh Hammond took his own life aged just 18 at his Chippenham home in November 2017.

His mother Kerry said she had no inclination that he was struggling to such a degree.

She said: “We didn’t have clue what he was going to do, when I look back at what he was like before he died, we thought he was just being a typical grumpy teenager, but he wasn’t telling us everything that was going on and I don’t want other parents to have to experience that."

Josh Hammond Credit: Family
Josh Hammond with his mother Kerry Credit: Family

Now, in a bid to create a positive impact from the death, Mrs Hammond has joined others in starting a series of workshops at Josh's football ground.

80 football coaches based at Chippenham's Stanley Park have been trained to look for signs of anxiety, depression and psychosis among teenage footballers.

Denise Little, a Malmesbury-based psychotherapist who runs the workshops, said: “The whole workshop is to build up an awareness of mental health and mental wellbeing."

Sports Development Officer, Paul Harvey, believes these coaches can have an influence on young players. He added: "Some of these coaches are role models to these children, and some of the children may speak to their coaches in a confidential way."

When young people suffer anxiety or depression there are no symptoms you can see, it is all inside their heads. But for them it is so much worse than adults because they don’t have the life skills or experience to cope.

– Denise Little, Psychotherapist
Josh Hammond was 18 when he took his own life Credit: Family

FC Chippenham coach, Ben Newson, highlighted the need for training. He told ITV: "The biggest eye opener for me is that it's not always obvious. Some of the children we were learning about were very confident, very outgoing, very funny, energetic, yet they were suffering a lot with their mental health."

Mrs Hammond hopes the workshops will encourage teenagers to talk to somebody about how they feel to prevent what happened to Josh, happening to others.