Football and mental health
Stories from some of the inspiring people we've met through our partnership with the English Football League.
Cameron had always seemed like a confident guy, and no one would have guessed anything was wrong. But behind closed doors, he was struggling.
Then, at the beginning of the football season, a small change to his clubs’ shirt helped him make a big change in his life.
Miranda, 29, has been a passionate Ipswich Town fan ever since her family moved to Suffolk when she was a child. She found that football was the one things that would help her integrate into her new home after the move, regularly going to matches from the age of eight. Speaking of match days, she says that, in spite of the certainty that Ipswich will lose, she doesn’t mind as she gets to sit with nice people.
“For me, football is a real escapism. It gives me something to focus on and I have a real sense of belonging when I arrive a Portman Road on a Saturday afternoon. I have always been so passionate about raising awareness of the importance of mental health and about football, so when the two came together, I didn’t think twice about being involved.”
The story behind the shirt: Dave and Scott's storyScott and Dave
Scott Perry was David’s oldest friend. They both grew up in Portsmouth and started going to football matches together from around the age of 14. Football was their escape, a chance to get away with mates and follow something they felt passionate about.
Scott sadly took his own life in February 2020, after struggling with his mental health for many years. Dave had a special shirt name with Scott's nickname and the age he was when he died.
"I want to share his story, so his death isn't in vain"
Running for my life
Rohan has been a football fan all his life, devotedly following his team through the ups and downs in his own mental health. His experience of bipolar disorder has led him to make several attempts on his own life. With support from Mind and other people close to him, he’s now in a much better place and spends much of his time using his own experiences to raise awareness about mental health through Mind’s partnership with the EFL, particularly around the benefit that running has on his mental wellbeing.
“The partnership between Mind and the EFL is a real game-changer as it works with fans to empower them to have a conversation about mental health through football, in whatever way they need. Football has been a huge part of my own recovery journey. Living with a mental health problem and being in a mental health crisis can make you feel so alone. But, even in my darkest moments, football gave me hope and a real sense of belonging.”
How groundhopping gave me hope
Lewis blogs about how visiting different football stadiums is helping him conquer his fears, and how the presence of the squiggle on the back football shirts through Mind's partnership with the EFL is making mental health a more visible issue.
"I can let out my emotions for 90 minutes and leave any worries outside the ground."