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Mental Health Football UK

“Football can be used to change the lives of people who are experiencing mental health difficulties”

Mental Health Football UK (MHFUK) endeavour to bring together professionals from within the mental health and football sectors for the benefit of those who are experiencing poor mental health.

Our Goals

Mental Health Football UK aim:

  • To help create partnerships between football initiatives and those directly involved with supporting people who are experiencing mental health issues such as NHS Trusts and stand-alone MH support organisations throughout the UK.
  • To show “Football Therapy” can be used as part of the recovery process or as part of on-going long-term therapy and that it can make a substantial difference to individual’s lives.
  • To support and promote new and established community based football therapy initiatives.
  • To encourage pro-active involvement through networking and sharing best practice.
  • To help increase the number of participants within each initiative through referrals from the NHS and other mental health support services also to make them more accessible to a wider audience.

Mental Health Football UK are currently working with Dr Jigar Jogia of Aston University to carry out a UK wide study into the effects of “Football Therapy” on participants.

MHFUK believe that all “Football Therapy” initiatives should focus on three key areas: the physical; mental; and social wellbeing of all participants.  Peer support within a “Football Therapy” initiative plays a vital role.  Being involved with people who have had similar lived experiences in a safe environment helps build confidence and tackles that feeling of loneliness.

“In my opinion the football is only the starting point, it’s all the added benefits that come about that are pleasing to see, to see players blossom, grow in confidence and self-esteem is what it’s all about. Mental Health Football UK is a venture I fully support and in my opinion is long overdue, so massive appreciation to all involved with helping set up this invaluable organisation which will benefit many people”.

Johnnie Garside, Mental Health Football Co-ordinator at Everton in the Community

“Being part of the Everton programme has given me so many opportunities and is a key factor in how I have managed to turn my life around; I have nothing but respect for all involved from coaches to participants and think of them as an extension to my family. I honestly do not know if I would be here today if it was not for Everton. I have met some truly inspirational people, I feel very lucky to have been in the right place at the right time”.

Colin Dolan, Founder Mental Health Football UK

What's Next

MHFUK plan to host a Mental Health Football UK cup tournament annually with representatives from Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales, the first of which would take place in summer 2015.  Looking further ahead in the summer of 2016, they hope to host the first ever “Mental Health Wellbeing UK Home Internationals”. MHFUK are currently seeking sponsors for both of these events which will be used to help raise the profile and the need for “Football Therapy” initiatives throughout the UK.

Get in Touch

Mental Health Football UK are currently in the process of building an interactive website with help from Edge Hill University. It is hoped the website will encourage interaction between those who facilitate the initiatives as well as participants.

MHFUK use Facebook and Twitter to help raise the profile of Mental Health Wellbeing Football tournaments as well as raising the profile of the individual initiatives.

Visit MHFUK on Facebook at Mental Health Football UK and also on Twitter @soccer_4_all

MHFUK can also be contacted via email



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  • Hi there, I am very interested in starting mental health football in fife, I am a long suffering mental health sufferer with my bipolar anxiety and depression and ex footballer who due to my illness gave up football at a very young age, I have always loved football and I am very keen to give something back and through helping people with mental health issues by talking listening and helping along with the beautiful game I can help people then I’m up for volunteering and getting things kicked of in fife, if you think there is room for that over here or indeed if you think I can help out in any way please get in touch with me. Ross Harrower Mobile number 07984599623

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