Cardiff Met FC is taking to the pitch in a bid to help tackle mental health and wellbeing among adults in Cardiff.
It is part of the FAW Trust's We Wear the Same Shirt programme – which has recently been handed a funding boost of 50,000 euros by the UEFA Hat-Trick Assistance Programme and is designed to improve the mental health of people living in Wales.
Bradley Woolridge is the Captain of the Men's Cardiff Met football team: "We want to use the power of football with adults who might be struggling with issues such as confidence, low self-esteem and loneliness. A healthy body can help encourage a healthy mind and being part of a team can provide a huge sense of belonging and togetherness."
The We Wear the Same Shirt programme has been running since 2015 and, supported by FAW Trust and Time to Change Wales, it is designed to help people living with mental health problems.
Pro Vice Chancellor Leigh Robinson explains: "As a University, we are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of our local communities. We have just signed a formal agreement with Cwm Taf University Health Board Public Health Unit to do just that. The football programme will bring in the wealth and expertise from across the University so that we can fully research our efforts to examine the difference it makes."
Rob Franklin of the FAW Trust said:
"We know that physical activity improves mental health. That's why We Wear the Same Shirt is so helpful for those in need of improving their wellbeing. But it's not just about getting out and about and having some exercise, there is a huge sense of support and belonging at the sessions which help people feel less isolated and more confident. We're really excited about our collaboration with Cardiff Met and look forward to the sessions starting."
In June 2017, almost 60 participants competed in a National Tournament and were surveyed about the programme. 91% said they were more confident after getting involved with We Wear the Same Shirt, 100% felt physically healthier and 95% felt their mental health had improved.
Karen Roberts, Programme Manager for Time to Change Wales said:
"Time to Change Wales is delighted to work in partnership with the FAW Trust to deliver this campaign – tackling the stigma around mental health is particularly challenging but the footballing environment provides an ideal opportunity for us to reach out and ensure that players, coaches and volunteers alike are aware of their own wellbeing. We firmly believe that this campaign will help encourage people to speak about their problems and not be afraid to ask for help and support.
- In any one year 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem or illness
- 9 out of 10 people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination
- Suicide is the biggest killer for men under 50
If you would like to read this story in Welsh, click here.