Hendon FC has become one of the first in the country to offer free tickets to matches for anyone who feels isolated.
“If anyone is suffering from depression, loneliness or any form of mental health issue, and believe they would benefit from a couple of hours watching a league game, we’ll be only too happy to have them come and watch for nothing,” says Hendon chairman Simon Lawrence.
It is an initiative born out of tragedy.
Last November, former Crawley Town manager Dermot Drummy died suddenly at the age of 56.
An inquest later heard the former Chelsea youth coach, who had been seeking counselling for his “low mood”, had killed himself six months after leaving his job at League Two Crawley.
Drummy is fondly remembered at seventh-tier Hendon after making 348 league and cup appearances for them as a winger in the 1980s.
“We took Dermot to our hearts,” said Lawrence. “I don’t think anybody could understand how such a bubbly character could be in such turmoil inside.”
The Mental Health Foundation, which campaigns to improve services for people affected by mental health problems, says there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK in 2013.
Between 2003 and 2013, 18,220 people with mental health problems took their own life in the UK.
“No-one is immune from mental illness,” added Lawrence, whose club host Harlow Town in the FA Cup first qualifying round on Saturday – one of 116 ties being played this weekend.