Beder: Mental Health Charity in a Brother’s Honour

As huge advocates for breaking the mental health stigma, we at FC Not Alone champion any likeminded movements – and there are plenty of them. We’re hoping this mental health awareness week will shine the light on some of those important initiatives, and Beder is one of them.

In April 2017 Razzak Mirjan’s brother, Beder Mirjan, sadly took his life. It came as an unexpected shock, but just over two years later the mental health charity, Razzak’s brother’s namesake, was born. Since, the charity has grown into a vital community asset. We spoke to Razzak Mirjan about their message, Beder FC and what to expect in the future.

Tell us a bit about Beder, and why it was set up.

Beder was founded in November 2019 following the unexpected loss of my younger brother, Beder Mirjan, who sadly took his own life at the age of 18 in April 2017.

We aim to bring people together who share similar interests and encourage people to take time for self care which, in turn, softly raises awareness and, hopefully, normalises the conversation around these topics.

Our approach initially focussed on organising a range of events across education, wellness and recreation ranging from mindful painting classes, fitness and yoga classes to sports events, talks with inspirational individuals, and concerts. However, due to COVID, we have been focusing our efforts online; recently publishing a charity cookbook called From Beder’s Kitchen, including recipes from a range of amazing foodies and have been able to broaden our reach worldwide. 

We aren’t here to compete with the other charities that already exist in this space or recreate the wheel but instead further the amazing work and resources already available. As a result, we have partnered with YoungMinds as our mental health charity partner, and Samaritans as our suicide prevention charity partner.

What is Beder’s aim and objectives as a charity for the next few years? 

Our approach to softly raise awareness around the topics of mental health and suicide prevention through organising a range of events and initiatives remains the focus for the short-medium term, but we are certainly taking steps to introduce some pivotal initiatives in the medium-long term, which will provide people with more access to therapy/support and help to overcome the stigma surrounding these, sometimes, incredibly emotive and overwhelming topics.

Beder has accomplished a lot as a charity in a short space of time and this is largely thanks to the incredible support that we have received from the outset – whether in the form of donations and fundraising, support of ambassadors and partners or managing to sell out a range of our events – which in itself is incredibly humbling and greatly appreciated. However, this is just the start as we establish Beder as a platform, providing opportunities for all to play a part in raising awareness around these issues.

What does Mental Health Awareness Week mean to you as founder of Beder?

Mental Health Awareness Week is an excellent opportunity to shine a light on the topic of mental health and encourage people to talk about it more. 

One of the key tools to normalise the conversation around mental health and suicide prevention is to continue to talk about these topics throughout the year and, most importantly, when we feel times get tough. 

I know from personal experience, even now, that it is sometimes easier said than done but opening up about whatever is on your mind, whether it is big or small, can do you the world of good as you are never alone and there is always someone there for you. 

Many feel that opening up or showing vulnerability is a sign of weakness, when in fact it is the complete opposite and it can have an amazingly positive effect in helping those you know and the wider community.

Mental Health Awareness Week is themed around nature, why do you think that’s important?

I think the theme of nature for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is perfect after a very difficult year for everyone.

We have some exciting initiatives and social media content connected to nature planned for the duration of Mental Health Awareness Week.

I really enjoy getting out into nature whether for a walk, run or cycle so will certainly be making the most of nature during Mental Health Awareness Week, and I’ll make sure each walk that I take is #NotJustAnother Walk.

What does football mean to you?

Football has always held a special place in my life, whether playing football throughout my time at school or supporting Fulham through the highs and lows. So founding Beder FC felt like an exciting opportunity that compliments the approach we are taking through Beder as a charity.

Football provides an opportunity to break down barriers, bring people together who may not normally cross paths or just provide a sense of teamwork and camaraderie.

There are certainly synergies between Beder FC and FC Not Alone’s approach which is really exciting as we all play our part to raise awareness around these topics, so our upcoming fixture on 3rd July (2021) is going to be an exciting one!

What are your aims with Beder FC? How did you get on in your first game?

Beder FC is a football club open to all and intends to raise awareness around mental health and suicide prevention through playing football. 

Our first game was very special – we had Sky Sports in attendance in addition to some ex-pros representing Beder FC, including Marvin Sordell (Beder ambassador), Barry Hayles and Sean Davies (Fulham legends).

It was a competitive game against the Heroes of Waterloo, who are an established Sunday league side. The game was played in great spirits and ended with a Beder FC win! Link: https://www.skysports.com/watch/video/sports/football/12291025/beder-fc 

Beder also recently became Surrey FA’s mental health charity partner and, as part of the partnership, use the beautiful Meadowbank Stadium as its home ground.

Beder FC will play against a range of different teams that fancy a game whilst bringing together individuals across a range of backgrounds and professions to help overcome the stigma and fear surrounding these important issues.

If anyone would like to sign up for Beder FC or organise a fixture against us then please just head to our website to register your interest: https://www.beder.org.uk/bederfc.

The hotly anticipated Beder FC vs FC Not Alone fixture will take place at the wonderful Meadowbank Stadium on Saturday 3rd July 2021, where we will be offering three followers the opportunity to play for FCNA. Keep an eye on our socials for more information in the near future.

If you’d like to learn more about the great stuff Beder get up to, then either visit their website at: www.beder.org.uk, or check them out on Instagram: @beder_uk, or Twitter: @beder_uk.