ON THE pitch, the Pars have been offering plenty of hope this season but they're just as determined to show there is some off it in difficult times.

While leading the Championship jointly ahead of their clash with Heart of Midlothian this evening, Athletic are continuing to lead the way in raising mental health awareness after teaming up with the Samaritans to tell those who may be struggling there is hope and there is also support.

Following on from their involvement in a video campaign to mark National Suicide Prevention Week in September, the Dunfermline players will sport t-shirts in support of the charity and the services they provide during the warm-up ahead of the televised match with the Tynecastle side.

Together with Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, Athletic – alongside representatives from Cowdenbeath, Raith Rovers, East Fife, Kelty Hearts and Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts, as well as Scotland star Caroline Weir and Pars legend Jim Leishman – took part in a powerful video encouraging those who are struggling to ask for help, while showcasing what support is available.

One such organisation was the Samaritans and Eddie Martin, Dunfermline Athletic's mental health ambassador, said: "Normally, we would have bucket collections, but obviously that can't happen just now so we came up with an idea.

"The first part of it is, for the Hearts game, that we are going to try and publicise the work Dunfermline has been doing for mental health but also the Samaritans as well. We're going with the message 'You're not alone' – bringing out that Dunfermline are working within the community to try and promote this but also that there is a service there available, which is the Samaritans.

"We know Christmas is definitely not going to be normal this year. There will be people in isolation, who are losing their jobs, who will be having financial worries, relationship worries, everything like that.

"It's usually a high peak time for the Samaritans to get calls as well so it's a message of hope but also one of support."

Linda Miller, Samaritans of Dunfermline director, commented: "Samaritans of Dunfermline is obviously unable to be a physical presence in the community right now so it's really good that our connection with DAFC and their mental health ambassador Eddie Martin has given us the opportunity to raise awareness of the help and support we can provide.

"We hope that by seeing the lads in our Samaritans' t-shirts, it makes the audience stop and think for a minute about how they're really feeling. It's so important for people who are struggling right now to know they are not alone.

"We want everyone to know that it's OK not to be OK – there is no shame in asking for help. Talking can be a powerful tool and we would encourage anyone who's not coping to talk things through with a family member, a friend, someone they trust or by contacting Samaritans on 116 123 or by emailing us at jo@samaritans.org."