AYRSHIRE College students have organised a high-profile mental health awareness day which culminated in a charity football tournament, with proceeds raised to be donated to the Kris Boyd Charity.

Kilmarnock player Kris was there to give his support, as well as former Kilmarnock footballer Andy McLaren and the Scottish Football Association’s (SFA) Head of Community Development Paul McNeill – who fronted the SFA’s ‘Football Saved My Life’ campaign.

Paul said: “The positive message at today’s event is providing students and staff the opportunity to highlight mental health awareness and really make a difference. It’s getting people talking, and that’s what’s important here”.

The Sport & Fitness students’ event aimed to raise awareness of the benefits that physical activity can have on a person’s mental health.

As well as the football tournament, there were fitness challenges and multi-sport activities in the Games Hall. Specially made mental health wristbands were also handed out to students throughout the college.

The students have received messages of support on social media for the work they are doing around mental health awareness in Ayrshire, from the likes of actor Steven Cree, WWE Superstar Drew McIntyre and fan-favourite wrestler Adrian ‘Lionheart’ McCallum. The students encouraged more people to get involved by using the hashtag #PassingPositivity on social media.

The event was held on Friday May 3 at the College’s Kilmarnock Campus, and the Sport and Fitness students who organised it as part of their course secured some big names to attend the event.

Alan Johnston, Sport and Fitness lecturer at Ayrshire College, said: “The event has been an amazing experience for our students and it has enabled them to raise awareness of positive mental health across all of the campuses. It has also brought together different departments to help try and overcome the stigmas attached with mental health.

“The support we have received through social media shows that this is an important issue and we will continue to champion all the great work that charities like the Kris Boyd Charity and others do to support individuals.“

Kris Boyd said: “I am delighted to be working in partnership with Ayrshire College to deliver a day of activities that brought many people together to raise awareness of mental health issues. We are working with community partners who can support people who find themselves experiencing negative thoughts.

“I want these people to know that irrespective of how you are feeling, there are always options. I want to change perception and perspective.

“ I want to change mindsets, I want to turn negatives into positives.

The most precious thing that can be afforded to others is time. It is important that we are there for people in their time of need.

“This wasn’t a ‘one-day’ event – it is an opportunity to instil hope and belief into people who are struggling to cope with the stresses of daily life and to make others aware of the positive impact that they can have those they come into contact with on a daily basis.”