• Phil Packer

Football Referee and Student Mental Health Champion, Isla Buchanan, joins the BRIT Ambassador family

We are delighted that Isla is part of our BRIT Ambassador family and championing the annual BRIT Challenge to support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK. Isla is a Sports Coach, Football Referee, Ambassador for the Scottish Football Association, Trustee with Perth and Kinross Disability Sport and after studying at Perth College, University of the Highlands and Islands, is now studying to be a Mental Health Nurse at Edinburgh Napier University.

Isla Buchanan - Student Mental Health Ambassador

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 be part of 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 nine 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. Nine 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.


I love the vision of BRIT and how they are uniting Olympians, Paralympians, sports personalities, adventurers and explorers to inspire young adults throughout the UK, destigmatise mental health and champion equality, diversity and inclusion. Their annual BRIT Challenge is a fantastic way for students and young adults of all abilities, at every UK university and college, to work as teams and raise funds for a second charity of their choice, alongside BRIT, to support local, regional and national charities.


I hope that every university and college in Scotland enters a team and promotes the opportunity for all their students and staff to be part of this inspiring feelgood February fundraiser. I look forward to encouraging and supporting Edinburgh Napier University to take on the BRIT Challenge; in addition to supporting and improving young adult mental health and fitness, it could also be the lifeline that saves lives too.”


Isla Buchanan

Football Referee and Student Mental Health Champion

Isla Buchanan - Football Referee & 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.


You can follow Isla on Twitter and Instagram.