A Falkirk-based mental health football team, run in partnership with NHS Forth Valley, Caledonia Services and Stenhousemuir Football Club, has won the Best Community Football for All prize at the 2018 Scottish FA Central region’s Grassroots Awards
The Team, which includes staff and service users from Woodlands Resource Centre and Bellsdyke Hospital, promotes positive mental health and train at Ochilview, the Stenhousemuir ground, with support from local coach Danny Newbiggings.
The Award gives the team a place in the national final which is being held at Hampden.
Despite the Scottish Government estimating that one in three people per year struggle with mental illness, Occupational Therapist, Julie Cunnell says it remains an issue that many in society are reluctant to discuss.
“Football can provide an opportunity to externalise emotion in an appropriate and healthy way, which traditionally can be something men find difficult.” she said.
“Being part of a team can provide people who are traditionally marginalised and socially isolated with a sense of identity and belonging, and wearing team colours on match days brings the team together through a shared interest. The focus of our group is not to win the World Cup but to decrease isolation, provide mental health support, structure, routine and improve fitness levels.”
The Team are constantly supported by NHS Forth Valley Occupational Therapists and John McGowan from Caledonia Services.