We’re delighted to confirm the promotion of Cumberland registered Referee Scott Henry to Level 4 for the 2020-21 season!
Scott has been rewarded for his effort and consistency during the season.
The news of local official Scott Henry’s promotion falls into Mental Health Awareness Week and we are very grateful that he has agreed to share his story
Scott has overcome a number of set backs over the past few years, triggered by the loss of his beloved mum.
Please do read his story and reach out if you need to……
I am delighted to be back at Level 4 for the 2020/21 season, as for the past 10 years I have suffered severe depression, separation traumas and have struggled to cope with the grief of losing my Mum in 2010.
Losing my Mum was the start of my difficulties as I didn't want to accept it, plus it also has had an effect on how I engage with others and I struggled to get too attached to people.
I found during this time that I would struggle to motivate myself, my mood would be erratic, and I was in total denial about my mental health and didn't reach out for help. Things spiraled, the only positive distraction was refereeing, when I held the whistle or flag, I felt free from life's pressures.
Refereeing was my release.
I had achieved promotion to Level 4 before and I was selected to Referee at the 2012 Paralympics in London and the Cerebral Palsy Intercontinental, Euros and World championships. I was also performing really well as a referee in my supply leagues (Northern League Div 2 and Wearside League).
However in 2015 despite finishing highly placed in my merit table I failed to achieve promotion which was very difficult to take, yet another disappointment, which knocked my confidence. My personal circumstances changed and looking back this was the beginning of my road to recovery.
We say in the refereeing world that “family comes first”, and I couldn't commit fully to my role as a referee anymore as I needed to prioritise my children and my own health. It is the biggest regret that I have, that I stepped away at the end of that season, the only one regret in life I have to this day.
There comes a time in your life where you need to reset, recharge and recover. I was in a dark place, alone, depressed and reckless, life hit me hard, I had struggled to cope, I thought nobody could help, I just wanted my Mum back. During this low point I was detained under the mental health act and spent a short time in hospital to get some help that I very much needed.
Sadly I had also attempted to take my own life, selfish, yes, but when you are that low at absolute rock bottom you think you are doing the best for everyone and you don't think of the devastation you would leave behind.
This was the turning point in my life. The realisation that I had to face up to what life throws at you. Another saying in the refereeing world that links to this "control the controllables". There are many things in all walks of life that we have control of and that will define you. The things that are beyond that that, the things that we can't control, we may need to adapt to and overcome if they have a direct impact on you.
I am lucky to have such amazing friends, my refereeing family – John M, Scottie T, Kev M, Phil M, Chris B, and Adam Pat. They have all stuck by me and picked me up when I've been at my most vulnerable. With the right support network around you, anything is possible.
In 2015 I was diagnosed with BPD Borderline Personality Disorder. Since then I have really worked hard to take positives in life and try to cope with and manage my emotions.
I left the refereeing field because I was not at my best. I have found the most amazing wife who has been my absolute rock, I honestly can't praise her enough, she has stuck by me through thick and thin.
I've had quality time to watch my two wonderful children, who make me proud every single day, grow. I have such a strong family unit and the best circle of friends and colleagues I could ask for.
My professional career has always been my pride, I have had a successful career managing an adults learning disability home and I have recently been approved as Registered Manager of a children's home for young people with disabilities.
I have kept in touch with refereeing and my reapplication for promotion to Level 4 this season has been achieved. Anything is possible, I am in the best place I have been for a long time down to hard work determination and support from those around me.
The key message is to embrace and adapt and overcome mindset.
There are going to be obstacles in life that challenge us and we must face those challenges and even when it's tough don't give up. Focus on the positives in every difficult situation no matter how little. I have been to rock bottom and rebuilt myself and I’m now ready to continue my development.
Always speak out, I would happily help anyone who is struggling mentally, we all have setbacks that will effect us. Always talk to others.
Cumberland FA would like to thank Scott for sharing his story.
The FA released mental health guidance for Referees with information to support referees in their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of others.
With some of the below ‘tips’ highlighted in the guidance, during these times more than ever this information is valuable to support both your own wellbeing and those of a fellow match officials.
Connect – Be Active – Take Notice – Keep Learning – Give
Download The FA Guidance on Mental Health
Referees who would like support or a chat, can contact us on RefSupport@CumberlandFA.com or call 01900 511 800 (Option 1)
In September, The FA also launched mental health guidance for coaches and managers
Find out more
Visit The FA for more information on mental health
One in four people will experience a mental health problem in any year. As Scott mentioned above; sport can help in people’s recovery, help to mange symptoms and can radically improve the quality of people’s lives.
Visit The FA’s useful resources
Looking after your mental health (From NHS)
Visit the NHS website