The former Queen of the South, Bradford City and Falkirk player, Chris Mitchell, committed suicide last year by walking in front of a speeding train last year. It has now been revealed that when he died, his girlfriend, Louise Rooney, was on the phone with him.
Chris Mitchell committed suicide last year by stepping in front of a speeding train. At the moment, his 29-year-old girlfriend was on the phone with him. She was 400 miles away in London when he killed himself at a level crossing in Stirling, Scotland.
Later, she heard that Chris has died and was in utter shock when she noticed that trains were being canceled.
Louise Rooney was devastated when she took her boyfriend’s phone call, heard what happened and then saw trains cancellations following the collision.
The former Queen of the South player had last met Louise Rooney the day before, hugged her and wished her a great day ahead. Louise recently talked about this for the first time ever, in an attempt to encourage footballers to talk about mental health.
Louise highlighted that mental health is something majority of people overlook, and this results in serious issues later on. Louise is now running a charity in the name of her late boyfriend and also works on spreading awareness about the importance of mental health.
The 27-year-old footballer was suffering from anxiety and depression but had kept his mental health struggles to himself and never talked about it with Louise.
Louise Rooney said, “I was on the phone to Chris when he died – I heard everything – but still I couldn’t believe it.”
“Depression and anxiety can happen to anyone in any career but football is a particularly brutal profession.”
Louise Rooney also revealed that Chris had drifted apart from the friends and former colleagues he had grown up with.
When the couple had met, Chris was playing for Clyde FC part-time, coupled with another job at a factory. Chris had been given medication and had been seeing a psychologist, but after his spinal surgery, he struggled severely since it had stalled his career.
The football player had told his sister that he was having thoughts of committing suicide, but Louise said it was not until Chris’ dad called her that she started to understand what Chris was going through and the reason behind his suicide.
Louise is now a trustee of the Chris Mitchell Foundation, the objective of which is to “dispel the stigma associated with mental health in professional football.”
Louise Rooney believes that professional football has a ‘macho, bravado image’ in which players learn not to show weakness, but it is about time that players realize that it is important to talk about mental health.
“If there had been mental health professionals at the club he would have taken advantage,” she said.
The Chris Mitchell Foundation and SPFL Trust are now holding a charity golf day at The Carrick by Loch Lomond on May 23.