Wednesday 18th October saw Football in the Community host their first ever Nottingham Mental Health Awareness Week day at the FITC managed Portland Centre. 2017 commemorates the 25th anniversary of the first Mental Health Awareness Week. Founded in 1993 by a small group of Nottingham Community Housing Association service users, free and accessible events are open to the public with the ambition to irradiate stigma and promote greater understanding of mental health and well-being.
A plethora of activities were available to guests including poetry readings, Indian and drumming workshops, guest speakers and special guests that seek to challenge the stigma of mental health and supporting those who identify as having a mental health battle. Activity Manager, Ian Richardson spoke with delight as over 150 flocked to the FITC managed Portland Centre to learn more about how mental health within the city is seeing monumental developments. “When we were approached by Pam Abbott (Service Manager at Framework) to host the event we felt humbled. Our work within the Nottinghamshire community has now been recognised locally, regionally and nationally with our ‘On The Ball’ and ‘Right Mind’ projects and FITC continue to play a huge role in combating mental health stigmas and issues.”
After recent appearances on TalkSport radio, Notts County FC defender and mental health campaigner Matt Tootle spoke with Football in the Community, discussing with participants how FITC’s mental health projects are unrivalled across sporting charities in the UK. “When I came to Notts County, I was told the work Football in the Community do around mental health was one of the best in the country. I recently spoke to Ian Richardson regarding the projects he oversees and his team have been doing some fantastic work. I don’t think people quite realise how much football can support and help individual’s lives.”
Despite the ongoing investment by both FITC and regional organisations, more can still be done according to Dr Nigel Plant, Football in the Community’s Mental Health Consultant. “There are still communities and individuals within Nottingham who remain silent with their personal mental health struggles. FITC continue to provide an outreach for those most in need of support.” One example of someone who had the confidence to contact FITC regarding her mental health battle was Elaine, a participant on ‘Right Mind’, a project for women looking to improve their mental health, boost their energy levels and meet new people. “FITC provided me with a safe, non-judgemental environment for ladies of all walks of life with mental health issues. I personally struggled with confidence and my weight after spending 5 months in a mental health hospital. Right Mind has changed my life for the better.”
With a reported one in four of us experiencing mental health issues at some point in our lives, it is important for those suffering or experiencing low moods, distress, anxiety or anger to seek help during their time of need. To find out how you can get involved in Notts County FITC’s Emotional Health and Welbeing projects CLICK HERE for On The Ball or CLICK HERE for Right Mind. Alternatively you can contact Ian Richardson: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0115 859 9968.