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WMHD: 'I'm in a better place thanks to Aston Villa'

10 Oct 2020
Russ, Aston Villa Foundation

Long-term participant of the Think Football project, Russ, explains how it has helped him get better on World Mental Health Day

On World Mental Health Day, Premier League clubs have been sharing how they have been supporting people in their local communities with their mental wellbeing.

Since 2017, the Aston Villa Foundation have been running the Think Football Project, which helps people with mental health issues by combining physical activity with communication.

The programme is open to both men and women and has engaged 120 participants with football-based sessions followed by wellbeing workshops.

For Russ Goodman, being a long-time participant of the scheme has made a huge difference to his life.

How Think Football helps 

"Think Football has had profound impact on me and helped me more than I could ever explain, from helping me return to work to effectively enabling me to get married," Russ says.

"Football plays a massive part of that. Physical exercise has a documented positive effect on mental health, but equally it is the group of coaches, the safe environment and the routine that helps foster an environment that helps me and others every week.

"I am in a much better place than when I joined the programme but still need it and use it as one of the tools, main tools even, to help me manage my mental health."

Mental health problems can affect anyone, any day of the year. If you or someone you know are having thoughts and feelings that are making day-to-day life difficult, it’s always OK to ask for help.

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