Football Referee and Student Mental Health Champion, Isla Buchanan, joins the BRIT Ambassador family
We are delighted that Isla has joined our BRIT Ambassador family. Isla is a Sports Coach, Football Referee, Ambassador for the Scottish Football Association, Trustee with Perth and Kinross Disability Sport and currently studying at Perth College, University of the Highlands and Islands.
Isla is sharing her own experiences of mental health in the hope that it inspires and helps other young adults and students; “I am delighted to join the BRIT Ambassador family and help to support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK.
Having experienced mental health challenges over the past eight years, I understand the difficulties that young adults face, the important of knowing where to find support and the need for a goal in life that can help you through the dark times.
Football saved my life. Eight years ago, when my Mum had a stroke, the severity of the situation hit me hard. I was 12 years old. Over the years, I became more isolated from my friends, stopped going to school and was not eating well. There was a time when I just didn’t want to be here anymore and had suicidal thoughts.
I knew I had to do something to feel better and the only thing that interested me was football. I stopped playing football at 16 and concentrated on refereeing. It has changed my life and through football, I have been able to find the strength and confidence to share my story in the hope that it can help other young adults who are struggling to cope.
It is vital that students and young adults who need help receive timely support and know where to find it. BRIT are not only partnering with other mental health charities to help with their fundraising, they are signposting where to find support from charities including PAPYRUS, Nightline, Student Minds, The Charlie Waller Trust, Samaritans and Shout.
I love the vision of BRIT and how they are uniting Olympians, Paralympians, sports personalities and adventurers to inspire young adults throughout the UK. Their annual BRIT Challenges are a fantastic way for students and young adults at every UK university and college (at home or on campus) to work as teams and be part of a feel-good fundraiser.
I hope that every university and college in Scotland enters a team and ensures that all their students and staff are aware of this super opportunity. The BRIT Challenge is being delivered to improve young adult mental health and fitness; it could also be the lifeline that saves lives too.”
Isla Buchanan BRIT Ambassador
Isla’s ambition is to follow in the footsteps of Kylie Cockburn and Morag Pirie to referee at the highest level of football.
We are sincerely grateful to Isla for sharing her story. If you would like to hear more, please watch her video from the Scottish Football Association’s 2019 “Football Saved My Life” series that marked Mental Health Awareness Week.