Inside Matters: How Brighton helped Ben's mental health

16 May 2023
Ben Griggs Inside Matters

Albion in the Community's weekly sessions have aided Ben Griggs' mental wellbeing and enabled him to help others too

Related Articles
Inside Matters: How music helps Wolves players' mental health
'Inside Matters' adds to League support for mental wellbeing
Premier League reinforces commitment to supporting mental wellbeing through Inside Matters campaign External Link

All Premier League fixtures from 6 to 15 May have been dedicated to the #InsideMatters campaign, which reinforces the League and clubs' commitment to supporting the mental wellbeing of players, fans and those in communities.

Brighton & Hove Albion

Nine years ago Ben Griggs, from Sussex, was told that he would never play football again following a catastrophic leg break. 

His mental health was affected, but after three surgeries and with support from the "More Than Football" programme run by Albion in the Community (AitC), Brighton's charitable arm, Ben has used the power of the sport he loves to help himself, and others.

“I suffer with both depression and anxiety," said Ben, who attends AitC's weekly sessions at Storrington, West Sussex, where he can have a friendly kickabout and a group talking session with other men. 

"I’m a massive overthinker and care deeply about others, and this often leaves me neglecting myself.

"I’m a single guy, no wife, no kids, I have no relations with my parents, and my family is very much scattered around the globe. That means the dependency just isn’t there. All this put together means I don’t really have an outlet for my thoughts, so people like me are forced to find our own comfort and safety.

Importance of friendship

"There are real life issues that are hidden behind the smiles we put on. To help cope with the ‘darker’ side of my mind, I just need to be surrounded by people who I can talk to.

"Football, for me, is my biggest coping mechanism. I already played on Mondays with another group, but once a week is not enough for me. When you spend the majority of the day in your own head … it’s dangerous."

Through going to his Thursday night sessions, Ben has built new friendships, which in turn has impacted positively on his mental wellbeing.

Storrington, Ben Griggs Inside Matters
Ben Griggs joins fellow participants of Albion in the Community's 'More Than Football' programme at Storrington

“The idea behind joining More Than Football was to find other people in the same boat as me – not necessarily recovering from an an injury, but finding other people like me who use football to find solace and as an escape from reality," he added.

“It’s a new community of people to be involved with, all from different backgrounds who each have their own stories to tell. A large friendship group has formed off the back of this Storrington group - something that would absolutely not have happened otherwise."

Ben now finds that helping other people has been just as important as being helped himself.

“Another great thing about More Than Football is that I can help others,” he said.

“Even if it means just a conversation about someone’s day, sometimes that can be enough for a man to realise his worth. It can turn things around for guys who might be having a bad day.

“A talk is really all it takes sometimes.”

Support available

As part of the #InsideMatters campaign, the Premier League has collaborated with Shout, a free, confidential 24/7 text support service for anyone in the UK who is struggling to cope. The service was launched in 2019 and has since helped hundreds of thousands of people.

The Premier League and Shout have collaborated to offer support to Premier League fans in the UK. Anyone experiencing anxiety can text the word "TeamTalk" to 85258 to be connected with around-the-clock support from trained volunteers, supervised and supported in real time by an expert clinical team.

Latest Videos

More Videos