Football players

Mental Health Champion

Mental Health Champion Darren offers Support to Referees

Referees often find themselves on the receiving end of negative comments – and there’s a growing concern about how this impacts their mental health.

Now Northumberland FA referee Darren McCall is hoping to help his match official colleagues who may be struggling – and also wants to challenge the abuse that refs often receive.

Darren is part of a pilot project by The FA to provide mental health champions in 11 County FA’s around the country, where they can provide support to match officials at grassroots level.

Darren hopes his life experience will help him in his new role, alongside personal and professional experience of mental health issues.

Darren, who works for the Ambulance Service, said:

“I’ve had my own mental health challenges so I’ve got personal knowledge of the issue which is important. I also deal   with people who have mental health challenges as part of my work and I always enjoy those jobs the most. Since I   was in my teens I’ve always been known as having a listening ear and have been the person people come to if they   need to talk. I suppose I enjoy helping people and talking things through with them.”

Now Army veteran Darren hopes he can help support other referees and change the way mental health issues are   perceived among the football community.

Darren is happy to talk to any referees in confidence - please email him at to arrange a suitable time to talk.