Over the past three years, Arsenal in the Community has delivered a programme that is helping to transform the lives of many individuals suffering from mental health problems.
In collaboration with Time to Change, England’s biggest mental health anti-stigma programme, run by the charities Mind and Rethink, the Club’s community department runs regular ‘How are You Feeling Today?’ sessions that use football as a way of improving social inclusion and wellbeing for individuals suffering from mental health problems.
The bi-weekly sessions for adults are run in conjunction with Camden and Islington Mental Health Foundation Trust and regularly attract more than 30 participants. All of the individuals involved live locally and have been referred to the sessions by a health professional.
Last month, lead clinician for the programme, Robert Lall, was recognised by Premier League sponsors, Barclays, for his outstanding contribution to the project, receiving tickets for the Fulham match at Emirates Stadium and getting the chance to meet Gunners legend Thierry Henry pre-match. Since Arsenal in the Community launched the project, Robert has played a key role in delivering the programme, organising fixtures and tournaments for participants and providing coaching to support staff on how to interact with service users.
Time to Change research shows that one in four people are affected by mental illness each year and today, February 6, the campaign is encouraging more people to start conversations about mental health with ‘Time to Talk Day’, a nationwide campaign being supported by various celebrities and organisations around the UK.
Speaking about the Club’s work, Alan Sefton, Head of Arsenal in the Community said: "Using football as a way to engage people suffering from mental health issues means that they have a chance to improve their physical wellbeing and potentially their quality of life through meeting others with similar experiences. Arsenal in the Community is proud to be part of this campaign which inspires people to work together to end the discrimination surrounding mental health."
To find out more about Time to Talk Day, visit www.time-to-change.org.uk/talkday
For more details about Arsenal in the Community’s mental health programme, contact Samir Singh at firstname.lastname@example.org.Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 6 Feb 2014