Non-league manager says mental health workshops ‘could save a life’

Mental Health image

Nelson FC manager Andy Harrison has said that everyone at the club has “suffered (mentally) at some point in the last 12 months.”

Lockdown and COVID 19 in general has caused many to struggle. It’s taken lives, jobs, hobbies and much more away from the world.

It’s no different in sport, where the charity State of Mind are delivering free workshops for all North West Counties Football League (NWCFL) clubs to support players and coaches with their mental health.

When talking about lockdown and the recent workshop, Harrison said: “I think it’s fair to say we’ve all struggled at some point in the last 12 months.

“I learned certain things from the workshop, including how to recognise symptoms (of mental health) and how to combat these with breathing or with acting instantly, so it definitely helped.

“I had seven or eight direct messages from some of the lads after (the workshop) saying that it was great.”

Nelson FC first team manager Andy Harrison

Harrison said: “It’s an opportunity to get some really good content into the lads and have a good laugh at the same time, so why wouldn’t you do it?

“It could save a life.”

Nelson FC are one of the many clubs who have recently accessed one of State of Mind’s online workshops.

The workshops are free and available for NWCFL clubs and Harrison thinks this is fantastic.

He’s even been in touch “with around 15 other clubs and managers” promoting the workshop.

He went on to describe the mental health workshop as “inspiring” and “eye opening”.

“They talked about their own experiences with mental health and how it affected them, which was eye opening and really quite sad to be honest,” said Harrison.

“They also spoke about how they got through it and where they are now which was inspiring.”

The FA suspended all the North West Counties League (NWCFL) fixtures on December 30 and since then there have been concerns about how players and coaches will cope without this outlet of sport.

The importance of mental health seems ever-growing and that’s why charities like State of Mind are vital.

Harrison, who has described Nelson FC as “really family orientated”, also said: “I think the main thing is breaking down that stigma of men not opening up.

“And that fear often leads to men taking their own lives and if we can break that down and combat any issues before we get to that point then that’s brilliant.”

“Or being afraid to look weak, or afraid to admit their struggling.”

The Nelson FC first team manager added: “My message to all NWCFL clubs and clubs at all levels is to take mental health seriously.

“Make it compulsory for your lads to attend (mental health talks).

“Often the ones who are struggling and who do need it will be the first to say they’re ok and bat it off.”

State of Mind share this opinion, their goal is to promote positive mental health and to ultimately prevent suicide.

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