DUNFERMLINE Rugby Club’s new captain is set to use his new role to tackle the taboo of mental health.

Clarke Smith says it’s an honour to represent his hometown team and wants to help inspire others to talk about their struggles.

The 26-year-old will also take on the Scottish Half Marathon next month for Andy’s Man Club in Dunfermline.

It is a service he’s incredibly thankful for after attending sessions to open up about his own mental health and attempts on his life.

“After being through psychologists and medication, I’d say the club is the best therapy I’ve had,” he told Press Sport.

“I’ve suffered with mental health issues for the last six years on and off. I’ve had attempts on my own life in the past and more recently, so having the club there is helpful to talk all that out and not bottle it up.”

Living in Dunfermline, he feels having Andy’s Man Club available to local men is crucial in the bid to break down the stigma surrounding mental health.

He said: “I was extremely nervous the first time I went. I didn’t know what to expect. I like to think I’m a confident character but stepping in there was a bit of a reality check.

“The massive thing that took me back was that depression doesn’t care about race or creed at all, and the meeting really opened my eyes up to that more. People from all walks of life attend.

"It puts things into perspective as well. No problem is too small there, regardless of whatever battle you’re going through. What is a big problem to you may not be to someone else, but that doesn’t matter.

"They make a massive point of making no judgement. It’s a safe environment.

“The hardest part is getting through the door. It was nerve-racking and I felt like I didn’t want to be there, but I knew it was the right thing to do to start the process.”

And after being announced as Dunfermline Rugby Club’s captain in July, he aims to make a real difference in his second season back at the McKane Park side.

“I think it’s important in my role as club captain to speak openly about mental health,” he commented.

“If a 14- or 15-year-old that’s struggling sees that Dunfermline Rugby Club’s captain is open about it, maybe that helps them see that it’s okay not to be okay.

“Captaining your home club is a fantastic honour and one that I’ll take very seriously. We’ve got a young playing group – and I’m a young captain at 26 – but everything is in place for us to have another great season.”

Donations have flooded in for his upcoming charity run on September 22, and the initial £500 target was smashed. More than £1,000 has been raised via his donation page: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/clarke-smith