On Thursday 26th November service users from the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust will take to the pitch for the latest Good Mood Football League tournament.
Matches start at 10.45am at The Zone, St Andrew’s Road, Huddersfield. It is hoped local residents will come down and support the teams who are made up of players from the areas the Trust covers; Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield.
The league is made up of nine teams that train on a weekly basis, but official league matches take place quarterly.
The difference between this league and other amateur football leagues is that the players are all current mental health service users, with conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Playing football has both psychological and physical benefits from anger management to anxiety control, but the most apparent advantage is that taking part gets people out of the house and socialising.
The league aims to eliminate stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health and provides a great opportunity for service users to boost their mental wellbeing through exercise.
Although the league is only in its second year it has been a remarkable success and with the help of The Zone in Huddersfield it has secured funding from The New Football Pools allowing the league to be affiliated with the Football Association.
This partnership has enabled the league to expand into mainstream football and will open up training opportunities for volunteers. Good working partnerships between service users, carers and other agencies are key to the success of the football league and service users are involved in the planning of the league events and are also encouraged to undertake training as football coaches to enable them to facilitate this service in the future unaided by staff.
Day service worker Julian Moses, who works with the Calderdale Inclusion Support Service, said, "This is an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of mental health issues, reduce stigma and promote wellbeing through exercise. We know that physical activity and social inclusion all make a big difference to wellbeing so the football league is great at supporting these areas.”
For more information contact Julian Moses on Julian.Moses@calderdale.gov.uk or Debbie Nicholson on Debbie.email@example.com or 01422 342654.