A new programme is launching in Leicester to help football fans manage their mental health. Leicester City in the Community are working in partnership with Goal Difference Leicester, with the help of Foxes legend Steve Walsh, to host the weekly programme with sessions held at King Power Stadium.
The programme uses football themes, stories and metaphors to help people from a wide range of backgrounds who are presented with a variety of mental health and social problems to address their issues in a unique and positive way. It makes the help and support accessible, breaking down barriers that may have previously stopped some people from engaging.
Goal Difference combines numerous evidence-based psycho-social interventions, in a uniquely innovative and imaginative way that encourages people who might otherwise struggle to open up to talk about how they are feeling.
The sessions are free of charge and will be held at King Power Stadium. They start on Tuesday 18 January, then running every Tuesday morning for 8 weeks.
Leicester City legend Steve Walsh added: “It is really important that we do what we can to help people improve their mental health and the Goal Difference programme will do that.
“With sessions taking place at King Power Stadium, that added attraction should allow Leicester City in the Community to work with adults who may be sat on the fence about getting involved.”
Goal Difference Facilitator, Shane Perkins, also explained: “On Goal Difference, each person will set small goals for themselves to try and achieve over the course and we will help people to reach those goals.
“Two years ago, we saw the situation at Stoke and all the guys there said they wouldn’t have come to any talking group that was in a hospital or doctor surgery, but to be at a football stadium is a real draw.”
The programme is based around the formula required to take a struggling football team and turn it into a successful one.
This is done in a step-by-step method:
– Get back to basics and assess strengths and areas for improvement
– Tighten up the defence and cope better with pressure
– Play as a team and get the crowd behind you
– Build confidence and self-belief
– Find the balance between attack and defence/creativity and hard work
– Maintain motivation and winning ways
Using the Five Ways To Wellbeing method (for which Goal Difference uses the acronym B CALM – Benevolence; Connecting; Activity; Learning and Mindfulness), participants will look at topics such as stress, self-awareness, positive self-image and negative impacts on people’s lives, which are all explored over each session.
Further support can be found through the United Leicester Wellbeing Hub, which can be accessed here: www.unitedleicester.com.