World Mental Health Day 2018

Reds in the Community are proud to support World Mental Health Day 2018!

World Mental Health Day presents a chance to promote education and awareness of mental health across the globe.

Also looking to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, the day focuses on a particular theme, condition, or group in society each year.

Half of all mental health illness begins by the age of 14, with many cases remaining undiagnosed and untreated.

To combat this issue, the theme for 2018 is ‘Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World.’

Social Inclusion Officer Hannah Philips spoke about the importance of the occasion.

She said: “World Mental Health Day is a great occasion for raising awareness about issues that people might be suffering with. Although we have come a long way with knowledge and understanding of mental health, unfortunately, a lot of people still will not ask for help and admit that they are struggling. Helping remove the stigma surrounding mental health is very important and awareness days such as today can only help with this.”

Reds in the Community, in partnership with the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, run weekly sessions for people struggling with mental health every Tuesday.

Ian Henry, Physical Activity Volunteer with the SWYPT, explained how beneficial playing regular sport has been for the participants’ mental health.

He said: “It’s very good because most people with mental health hibernate or keep in their comfort zones. This means they are getting out and about, adapting and meeting new people. Sport is brilliant for mental health. Anybody can play football, no matter who you are. Being active really helps with mental health, anxieties, depression and everything.

“I’ve seen a load of progression. Most of the lads couldn’t even mingle with people. Isolation is a big thing. To be here, taking part, training and with a game of football at the end – I’m really chuffed with it. World Mental Health Day is massive for the stigma of mental health.”

The group hasn’t just settled for playing once a week, also taking part in competitions such as the EASI (European Association for Sport & Social Integration) Cup.

In June, Oakwell hosted the 2018 EASI Cup, bringing together people from across Europe with the aim of raising awareness of mental health and learning difficulties.

Participant Brent Wood is understandably proud of the group’s journey.

He said: “I’ve been with the team now for nine years. I’ve been totally dedicated to what we’ve been doing. We’ve accomplished so much, we’ve got a mini-bus, we’ve toured all around the country in different tournaments, we’ve even been integrated in the EASI Cup as well.

“I enjoyed it in the EASI Cup because I thought it was very competitive for us which was good. But also you could relate to the different people, appreciate and understand their problems. If I’m focused when I’m playing here, it becomes a natural routine for me. For that to be taken away from me or other players, I think would be very detrimental to their mental health.”

Fellow player Andrew Todd is also a massive advocate of using sport to help people with their mental health as well as improving fitness.

He said: “I really look forward to it. It’s great for my mental health and physical health. I think it [sport] should be a therapy with the NHS. It’s great therapy, it’s helped me out amazingly. I was diagnosed at 16 with mental illness, I was really ill for quite some time. I joined this football group for about 15 years and my path to getting better has been helped by the football group and other sports as well.”