For some people, physical activity can be as powerful as medicine or therapy.
In 2010 the Mental Health Foundation said that for people with depression, “Comparative studies have shown that exercise can be as effective as medication or psychotherapy”. Exercise releases natural chemicals like adrenaline and serotonin.
It also helps to release muscle tension, raises the body temperature and causes tiredness. These all help relieve stress and provide relaxation – this is of particular benefit for people with mental health problems.
In the UK, professional football clubs have received an increasing amount of attention with regards to their potential ability to contribute to the public health agenda. Professional football clubs’ community physical activity and health programmes have demonstrated huge success in both engaging and retaining their target audiences (Curran et al. 2014, Pringle et al. 2014, Pringle et al. 2015).
Men Talk has been funded for five years by the National Lottery’s Reaching Communities programme. The award of £371,000 over five years is a large award and is based on a rigorous assessment and planning process. Sky Blues in the Community (SBITC) are one of the few community schemes nationally to have received an award of this size from the National Lottery which is a tribute to our track record in innovative mental health work.
Men Talk is a five-year project developed by Sky Blues in the Community (SBitC) that aims to support 1,600 men over the next five years in Coventry and Warwickshire with their emotional health and well-being. This will be delivered via one-to-one support, group physical activity and classroom-based workshops in a fun, welcoming, non-clinical environment.
The new project called “Men Talk” is set to start in the New Year of 2020. It is free for participants to attend with each course taking place in community venues in Nuneaton, Warwick, Rugby and Coventry (venues to be confirmed). Each session will be led by SBitC’s specialist Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner with support from SBitC’s professional sports coaches. Course content will vary based around the selected modules, but ice-breaking activities and “get to know you” activities will form part of all courses. Workshops will cover a range of subjects related to mental health for example:
- Goal setting
- Healthy eating and menu planning
- Life balance
- Healthy body
- Personal health
- Stress management
- Substance misuse and smoking cessation
- Understanding psychosis, depression, and anxiety
The wide menu of activities participants can benefit from include physical activities, group exercises, team games, gardening, yoga and creative activities. In fact, Men Talk will be co-produced by participants ensuring they can choose the weekly activities they take part in.
As a sports charity, SBitC use our credibility and connection to Coventry City Football Club to attract our target group. Men Talk will use SBITC’s ability to engage with men from across the social spectrum, enabling them to reach their potential by intensive, supportive, carefully planned work.
We already play a significant role in supporting mental health and are uniquely placed as an organisation, in local men’s hearts and minds, to be able to appeal to them by focussing specifically on their interests. We have a track record of being able to engage, attract and retain their involvement over the long-term, meaning we can have a significant impact on their health. We plan to provide life-changing opportunities in a way that offers an outlet for men, aiding recovery in a “no stigma” environment.
SBITC’s Head of Community, Dave Busst said: “SBitC has a commitment to ‘Making A Difference’ within our local community. We currently run a wide range of projects in Coventry based around our four themes (Inclusion, Health, Sport and Education).
"We are delighted to announce our new project Men Talk and keen to give men this fantastic opportunity to learn valuable life-skills such as stress management and goal setting, whilst hopefully making a significant impact on their mental health and lifestyle”.
If this sounds like something you would benefit from or know someone who would, please keep an eye out in the New Year for when we officially launch this exciting new project - Men Talk.
For more details, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02476 786 349.