The EFL is supporting Mental Health Awareness Week as the EFL Trust and our clubs continue to do fantastic work in this area using the power of football.Mental Health Awareness Week, running from 8th to 14th May, is a national campaign coordinated by the Mental Health Foundation and this year’s theme is ‘Surviving or Thriving?’.
Nearly two thirds of people have admitted they have experienced a mental health problem, following a survey from the Mental Health Foundation.
The Professional Footballers’ Association provides support in this area for its members, with footballers seeking advice from the body.
And the work in football doesn’t stop there, as numerous EFL clubs run programmes in their local communities focused towards mental health, including Notts County and their ‘Right Mind’ programme.
The Right Mind programme works with local women to provide advice and support with mental health issues by offering free physical activity and social sessions once a week.
The programme works with 15 women on a weekly basis and have had over 70 referrals since its conception. One of those women, Helen King, had a nervous breakdown two years ago and has been helped in her recovery by the Right Mind programme.
“I have got ADHD and I have a lot of energy and needed an outlet. The programme at Notts County looked appealing and I am so glad I did it,” Helen explained.
“I don’t know how I’d have turned out If I hadn’t have come across this, I don’t think I’d have come out after the breakdown, so it kind of saved me.”
Elsewhere, Swindon Town and Plymouth Argyle both run successful football sessions for adults with mental health issues.
Swindon Town Football Club Community Trust are just one of many EFL clubs who have been working in conjunction with Mind, as a part of the Every Player Counts Project funded by Wembley National Stadium Trust.
Through Every Player Counts, participants have the opportunity to take part in football coaching sessions, social interaction and physical exercise within a safe environment.
One participant in particular, Ian Tanner, who had to resign from his employment position due to acute mental health issues and a diagnosis of schizophrenia and bipolar, has attended over 90% of sessions since joining.
He said: “The sessions really push me and have certainly increased my confidence levels. I feel very positive after I have finished the sessions.
“I am the eldest in the group and feel very proud that I am able to engage with others doing the sport I have loved all my life.”
EFL Trust Director of Operations Mike Evans added: “Across the length and breadth of the country, the community trusts from our 72 EFL clubs are running a range of projects that help people’s mental health, whether directly through specific projects like ‘Right Mind’ or through participation in other sports projects that offer the benefits of exercise and social support, which have proven to improve mental health.”
There are many charities that do work in this area, including Mind. To find out about Mind, please click here.
To find out the work the PFA do in this area, please click here.