SPORT is an integral part of our community and can play a significant role in promoting the importance of positive mental health and wellbeing.
The World Health Organisation estimates that one in four of us will experience a mental illness at some point in our lives.
NSPCC research into young people’s experience of sport found that 10 per cent of young people involved in sport had self-harmed.
Football is a great tool in aiding recovery, helps to manage symptoms and can radically improve the quality of people’s lives. Whether it is in mainstream, community football clubs, or in specialised sport and mental health projects, football can deliver massive benefits. There are three key ways that football can help:
- Improving people’s mental health
- Creating social inclusion
- Helping physical health
To emphasise the above – and as part of the wider Heads Up campaign, The FA has produced a 36-page mental health guide for coaches and managers in the adult game that can be downloaded below. It’s been produced in partnership with Mind, and a mental health advisory group put together by The FA.
What you can do. Some things you can do to promote mental health and wellbeing in your club or organisation are:
- Raise awareness of the importance of positive mental health and wellbeing and how this can have an impact on physical health
- Raise awareness of the risks of self-harm and suicide within sport and steps to reduce these risks
- Create an environment where people can ask for help and support when needed
- Signposts to Support
Choosing to talk can make a real difference to someone’s life. But sometimes these conversations can bring up some difficult things that people may not have spoken about before. This might mean that they need some support.
There are plenty of groups who can provide individual support, guidance or advice. Below you’ll find a list of organisations who can help you, or someone else:
Mind Infoline (Telephone:  123 3393 - 9:00am-5:00pm, Monday to Friday. E-Mail: email@example.com. Text: 86463. Website: www.mind.org.uk/help/advice_lines): With support and understanding, Mind enables people to make informed choices. The Infoline gives information on types of mental health problems, where to get help, drug treatments, alternative therapies and advocacy. Mind also has a network of nearly 200 local Mind associations providing services.
Rethink Mental Illness Advice Line (Telephone:  5000 927 - 9:30am-4:00pm, Monday to Friday. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.rethink.org/about-us/our-mental-health-advice): Provides expert advice and information to people with mental health problems and those who care for them, as well as giving help to health professionals, employers and staff. They also run services and groups across England and Northern Ireland.
Elefriends (Website: www.elefriends.org.uk): Elefriends is a supportive online community run by Mind where you can be yourself.
Samaritans (Telephone: 116 123 - 24 hours a day, free to call. E-Mail: email@example.com. Website: www.samaritans.org): Provides confidential, non-judgmental emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide. You can phone, E-Mail, write a letter or, in most cases, talk to someone face-to-face.
SANEline (Telephone:  304 7000 - 4:30-10:30pm, every day. Website: www.sane.org.uk/what_we_do/support/helpline): A national out-of-hours helpline offering emotional support, guidance and information to anyone affected by a mental health problem, including family, friends and carers.