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Football good for men’s mental health

Friday December 2nd, 2011

Men with mental health problems should be encouraged to play football, psychologists will hear today.

Dr Jurai Darongkamas, of South Staffordshire & Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, says there is growing evidence that men who suffer from depression and other mental health problems can benefit from playing the game.

She will tell delegates at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology in Birmingham that playing the sport could be of benefit, particularly because young men are often unwilling to be involved with conventional mental health services.

It comes after she and her colleagues from Staffordshire and Aston Universities set up a club in 2007 for men with a range of mental health problems in response to earlier findings that suggested people’s mental health benefits improved if they played football.

After the club, which plays in a competitive league in the West Midlands, had been running for four years, all 15 members were invited to take part in interviews about their experiences with the club.

Ten, who had a range of problems, including depression and psychosis, agreed to take part and they reported benefits such as improvements to their mental health, ability to deal better with their mental health problems, improved confidence and improvements in their social life.

Conference delegates will also hear about a service that allows people to phone a therapist at a time and place convenient for them in order to get advice about common problems such as anxiety and depression.

Dr Jim White, consultant clinical psychologist and director of the Glasgow-based STEPS project, will reveal the success of “call back”, which was launched in September 2008.

Almost 2,000 callers have left their details on a dedicated phone line and have been called back by a clinician on the same day to offer advice and access to other parts of the service if appropriate.

Tags: Fitness | Menís Health | Mental Health | UK News

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