mental health

Integrating back into society

THE award-winning social enterprise Sport For Confidence places allied health professionals alongside sports coaches to provide physical activity people who face barriers to participation, including those with mental health issues. Based at seven leisure centres across

Essex and Waltham Forest, the organisation delivers more than 1,500 interventions every week. The organisation also delivers bespoke, closed programmes on behalf of specific organisations. Through its connection with the Essex

Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, Sport For Confidence provides rehabilitation and support to inpatients at Brockfield House, a medium/low secure service for men and women, to help them integrate back into society. Sessions are structured to accommodate small groups of up to six. Using sport as the delivery vehicle, participants are given opportunities to practice life and occupational performance skills under the supervision of an occupational therapist and sports coach. The sessions take place at the Waterside

Tackling men’s mental health

SUICIDE is the number one killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK, with 12 men taking their lives every day. In the UK, men are three times as likely to take their own lives than women. Former Leeds Rhinos and Halifax rugby

player, Luke Ambler, set up Andy’s Man Club to help men talk more about their problems after his brother-in-law took his own life. Oldham Community Leisure (OCL) has been

hosting a free Andy’s Man Club (AMC) service, every week for almost two years. The club takes place at Chadderton Wellbeing Centre, where OCL donates space for free. Designed to give men a safe forum to talk openly, more than 300 men visits AMCs across the country every week. “Andy’s Man Club provides men with an

opportunity to chat, without stigma,” explains Kelly Tattersal, OCL community and partnership development officer, who has been involved since the club’s inception. “Men can discuss whatever they wish. There

are no bookings, no referrals and no charges. We aren’t professionals; it’s just a peer-to-peer support group for like-minded men to get


things off their chest. Some just come to listen.” Offering Andy’s Man Club is a way to help

tackle mental health issues in the community says Stuart Lockwood, chief executive at OCL. “It’s often much easier for men to say they’re off to the gym than it would be to say they’re going for therapy, so a leisure centre is the

ideal venue.” There are currently 17 Andy’s Man Clubs

across the UK. Now in prisons, the clubs will eventually be rolled out across the entire prison estate.

Farm Leisure Centre and are adapted to enable meaningful and rewarding inclusion for all. The programme has been running for 18 months during which time Sport For Confidence has delivered more than 250 patient interactions. “The programme is providing a lifeline to

many individuals who are dealing with ongoing mental health challenges. Integration back into the community is a terrifying prospect for many of them,” says Kayleigh Reardon, an occupational therapist with Brockfield House. “Individuals within forensic mental health

services are often detained for long periods of time without any, or limited access to the community. As a result, many become

institutionalised and experience significant difficulties and anxiety when accessing the community. Attending the weekly Sport For Confidence sessions gives individuals a unique opportunity to visit a mainstream, non-clinical environment and get fully involved in structured, physical activity sessions. “Physical activity and sport provide the

perfect setting for rehabilitation and integration, teaching a wide array of social, physical and pre-vocational skills which individuals can carry with them from the field of play into their everyday lives.”

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