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Bobby Farnham making a Giant effort for US mental health



Community effort : Bobby Farnham (left) doing his bit for charity back in the USA

Community effort : Bobby Farnham (left) doing his bit for charity back in the USA

Bobby Farnham

Bobby Farnham

William Cherry/Presseye

Community effort : Bobby Farnham (left) doing his bit for charity back in the USA

Since making his way home from Northern Ireland after the cancellation of the Belfast Giants' season in March, winger Bobby Farnham has been busy.

Upon returning to the States and his home near Boston, it didn't take long for the 31-year-old to start thinking about how he could use his time wisely and quickly a plan began to formulate within a WhatsApp group he shared with several former Brown University team-mates.

The idea was a simple one - Farnham wanted to raise money to help both local businesses in Rhode Island near Brown and mental health workers still doing their jobs during quarantine - and it gathered momentum after a quick chat with local mental health charity Lifespan.

Within five days, Farnham's WhatsApp group and several other Brown athletes had raised over $6,000, which immediately went towards buying food from a restaurant the players went to before each game to help them out financially, with the meals then delivered to mental health professionals at three different Rhode Island locations by Farnham, his former Brown team-mate Jeff Buvinow and equipment manager Steve Sanquist.

"I went down and asked how could we help, and they were so grateful," says Farnham.

"They'd been inundated with pizzas and meals for a lot of the hospitals down there, so our thought process was how can we help local businesses during this time and who else can we help?

"Lifespan have three locations in Rhode Island we could deliver to and that was awesome, firstly because it's mental health awareness month, and second of all I think people overlook how prevalent mental health care is during normal times, but even more so during the pandemic.

"I thought it was an unbelievable avenue to go down. These people are really deserving of our help during this time, and mental health is so important at all times, and we got to help our old pre-game meal spot as well."

May is mental health awareness month in the USA and it's something that needs monitored in the United Kingdom as well.

A recent study from the Mental Health Foundation revealed that 24 per cent of adults have experienced feelings of loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic, posing concerns over people's long-term mental wellbeing.

But Farnham, through his work in Rhode Island, is encouraging others to speak out and do what they can to help others with their mental health.

"Everyone is touched by mental health one way or another, whether it's a friend or a family member," continues Farnham.

"Mental health is often overlooked but it really shouldn't be because it's prevalent, it's real, it's every day, pandemic or no pandemic. If anything, it's exacerbated by the pandemic because we're lonely and we're isolated.

"I thought it was a really good avenue to go down during mental health awareness month when the news is all about Covid but this is still a massive problem. To help end the stigma around mental health is something that I really want to do."

Those who know Farnham will know his charitable nature. It was reflected during his spell in Belfast, where he was gracious with his time within the community and, as a result, was voted Fans' Favourite in the recent Giants awards, which the Massachusetts native admitted was an honour.

"I think it's very important to be involved and Belfast did an amazing job at that," he adds. "Laura Small was right at the front of all that, she was amazing. Getting to meet guys like Ethan McClean and Blake McCaughey and being able to meet and have a relationship with those guys, that was awesome. Belfast, as an organisation, did a great job.

"It was great. I sent out a tweet just to thank the fans because they were very supportive of me. I was glad they liked the way I played and they were amazing all season.

"They were so supportive to say the least and I'm more than appreciative to get that honour."

Belfast Telegraph