To celebrate World Mental Health Day and raise awareness of mental wellbeing staff from the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust took to the pitch in a special football game against service users.
The match took place on Tuesday 6th October at Dewsbury Sports Centre after community psychiatric nurse Craig Mitchell challenged the chief executive Steven Michael to let his feet do the talking after hearing he has a talent for the beautiful game.
Despite the "impressive" skills of Steven, who captained the staff team, they were unable to stop the Access All Stars who gave a convincing performance and beat them 15- 5.
However, the defeat did not dampen spirits and both the staff and service users had a great night and helped to dispel mental health myths, which can leave people feeling hurt, diminished and socially isolated.
Craig said, "I spoke to Steven Michael at the last Trust football tournament and he shared my views about how beneficial sport is to mental health and wellbeing and how good it is for self esteem and social inclusion. This match sent out a positive message combating the negative stigma of mental illness at the same time as bridging the gap between staff and service users."
The football match was part of an 18 day festival being held across Calderdale, Kirklees or Wakefield, designed to mark world mental health day 2009. Over 150 events and activities are being held on the themes of ‘Get moving, get creative and get involved’.
The football was part of the festival’s ‘get moving’ theme as physical activity is great for mental wellbeing.
Service user Ian Heraty said, "Sport has helped my recovery from illness. It reinforces and helps reflect the progress you are making, which in turn boosts mental health."
The Trust’s chief executive, Steven Michael, said: “This was an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of mental health issues, reduce stigma and promote wellbeing. We know that creativity, physical activity and social inclusion all make a big difference to wellbeing so our festival is concentrating on these areas. We want people in our local communities to be able to try something new to enhance their wellbeing.”
Due to the success of the game it is hoped the teams will meet on a more regular basis.