‘Coping Through Football’ is a mental health project delivered in partnership between NELFT, London Playing Fields Foundation and Leyton Orient Trust.
The project was invited to be part of a special feature on BBC Radio London’s Sport Show as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. The feature highlighted the work being carried out by sports groups in London helping people improve their mental health.
Sonia Smith, Project Coordinator, described how the Coping Through Football project works as a “tool to engage young people & adults.”
Emma Jones, the show’s presenter recognises the importance of such projects as Coping Through Football which works to address the issue of male suicide - one the biggest killers of men age under 45.
Sonia went on to explain how the project works to engage individuals and how Coping Through Football is not just a project about football:
“It’s about how to get the best out of someone and the difference it has made to individuals over the years, especially the support being offered to younger adults, many of whom may not be in education, recognising that the focus is on ‘getting the right support’ that sometimes the only place they come is our football session.”
Overview about the project
The project supports the recovery of adults (age18+) and young people (age12 -17) experiencing mental health issues in their lives. It is delivered as a therapeutic group, part of NELFT mental health services and accepts referrals from individuals living in the four NELFT localities of Barking & Dagenham, Redbridge, Havering and Waltham Forest.
There are four sessions across the week for adults and two for children & young people. They are delivered from mainstream community sports venues in Waltham Forest & Redbridge.
Coping Through Football seeks to tackle the stigma, social isolation and discrimination faced by individuals living with mental health problems and improve the wellbeing of its participants.
To listen to Sonia talking about the project, go to BBC Sounds: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0c1b6js (Timed between 37.15 - 42.50 mins during the show).