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Mental health and sport - there’s All To Play For at the Football Development Centre

Posted: Wed, 11 Oct 2017 06:00

Mental health and sport - there’s All To Play For at the Football Development Centre

A new weekly football group designed to help men who feel they may need support with their physical and emotional wellbeing is gathering momentum. The free-of-charge football match takes place each Wednesday at the Football Development Centre in Bowthorpe between 1.30pm and 2.30pm and aims to encourage men to take better care of their mental health.

The first few sessions were resounding successes and attracted an impressive turnout for the free early afternoon football match. The scheme is open to all adult men, both in and out of services, who may feel they need extra support with wellbeing.

Each week, participants are able to take part in the game led by a qualified coach before attending an informal drop-in session where they can learn more from a number of different support services on subjects such as finance and housing.

The sessions have been arranged through Active Norfolk and the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust men's wellbeing project which encourages men to monitor and take good care of their mental health, while improving the accessibility of help and support services. The pilot scheme will see men play alongside mental health staff to help break down barriers between service users and mental health professionals so they can work together more closely.

Andy Fisk, a community mental health nurse with NSFT, has organised the project alongside Sam Watts, from Active Norfolk. Mr Fisk said: "We are really excited about this new group, which will give any man aged 18 or over the chance to get some extra support with their wellbeing. We'll be asking those taking part about their individual needs so that we can invite the right services along to offer help in an informal and welcoming environment. There is strong evidence to show that physical exercise has a positive impact on mental health. As such, we hope as many men, carers and professionals as possible will come along to these exciting new sessions, get active and help us break down the stigma associated with mental ill health."

Mr Watts, Fun and Fit project officer from Active Norfolk, said: "This is a great chance for those struggling with mental health issues to join other like-minded people and enjoy a game in a fun and friendly environment. As well as honing their skills by taking part in some drills led by a professional coach, they will also get the chance to receive support for their mental health at the social session after the game."

The sessions will take place at The FDC for 10 to 12 weeks, beginning on Wednesday, September 27 at 1.30pm. Those who want to take part are encouraged just to turn up wearing suitable clothing and trainers.

Tags: Football, Football Development Centre, Mental Health, Wellbeing