ILKLEY Town Ladies AFC are embarking on a ground-breaking new season as they aim to promote mental health awareness within the West Riding Ladies League.

Each match day and at training the ladies will be wearing their new mental health matters t-shirts aiming to raise awareness of mental health aspects and to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

Alongside this there is a website - - aimed at helping individuals to find help when needed and to source information about any kind of mental health condition.

The ladies team manager Dr Tony Gill is the driving force behind the campaign. Tony, a mental health expert who works as a lecturer in mental health a Salford University, hopes that by providing a forum where anyone can access information and learn more about mental health it will enable individuals to cope and feel safe to talk.

Tony said: “The website will be full of information about each aspect of mental health and offers support and guidance to all individuals with any type of mental health issues.

“The website is aimed at raising awareness through information and removing some of the stigma associated with mental illness, simple things such as being left out of a team for a game and not being aware of a person’s situation is important, having compassion and understanding often helps an individual. Showing that you care is also important and taking the time to talk is so important. Issues such as anxiety, bullying, will be addressed within the website which is undergoing an update currently.”

Tony hopes to run a series of roadshows across the West Riding to help teams and managers understand the impact of mental illness.

Tony added: “These will encompass issues such as self-harm and suicide awareness.

“It’s really important, especially in the current pandemic, that we look at the holistic aspects of everyone, and not just focusing on their physical health. Many people will feel isolated and lonely and this impacts on the whole of society, so we need to help and raise awareness, help everyone and help reduce the stigma of mental illness.

“The ladies are taking a ground-breaking step in raising this awareness, each home game that they play we will raise funds for a charity designated by the ladies team.”