The Scottish Mental Health & Wellbeing Football League is excited to launch its new brand which coincides with the start of a Step Count Challenge for member clubs and players.
With Support from the Scottish FA, the League has been running for the past 6 years as a means of supporting mental health recovery and tackling stigma through football. The League is now part of the Scottish Para Football programme and aims to support individuals living with a mental health condition to improve their social, physical and mental wellbeing. Every week, 1 in 6 adults experiences a common mental health problem, such as anxiety or depression and 1 in 5 adults has considered taking their own life at some point.
The League’s Player Ambassador – Michael Knight - summed up the impact the League has had for him:
“For me and some of my team mates at the club it was literally a lifeline. Through my involvement with the club I was able to increase my physical fitness which greatly helps your mental health by boosting serotonin levels. Eleven years after joining the team I greatly appreciate the assistance and support we have received from both our trainers and the club itself. Being part of this extremely useful and practical initiative I now regularly cycle, have just completed my one hundred and ninth Munro and also use my gym membership.
In these days of rapid increases in mental health issues among men and the rapidly rising increase in suicide rates among young men, these projects are both necessary and invaluable. Projects like these are helping to take away the stigma from mental health issues. They have raised awareness among the general public as well as improving the health of their members.”
During the course of a regular season the League would see 11 clubs and in excess of 120 players attending national fixture days held in various locations throughout Scotland. With Covid-19 bringing a stop to those events and training for many of its member clubs it was important for the Committee to reach out to players and let them know that we are still here to support them.
League representative –George Watson– explained the reason for launching the Step Challenge:
“From early on in the pandemic it became clear that our current league format would struggle to get started again as a result of health protection measures. At a club meeting in September many of our clubs told us that they were only getting access to players on a one to one basis and that players were really missing the competitive element of the league. We hope that clubs can use the Challenge as a way of staying connected and that the Challenge, although not directly related to football, provided a fun and engaging challenge for everyone involved.”
Ambassador for the League former Scottish international and Radio Scotland media pundit Derek Ferguson – commented:
“I’m delighted to be asked to be involved in this initiative. We all know that the Covid-19 pandemic is having a detrimental effect on our mental health and as we head into the winter months it can be difficult to find the motivation to get out and exercise. I know myself the positive benefits associated with exercise so it’s great to see the Mental Health & Wellbeing League reaching out to their players in this way.”
For more information contact: David McPhee (League Chairman) here
List of Scottish Mental Health & Wellbeing League Teams:
Clyde United FC
Dundee United Community Trust FC
North Lanarkshire Kickstart United FC
Queen's Park FC
Real Richmond FC
Recreational Therapy FC
Saints Blue FC
Saints Yellow FC
Thistle Red FC
Thistle Yellow FC
Scottish Mental Health & Wellbeing League
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