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Teamwork helps tackle mental wellbeing in Norfolk
24/10/2014

An NHS Wellbeing service has teamed up with a Sunday league football club to help tackle mental health problems in young men.

The NHS Wellbeing service in Norfolk, provided by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, provides a range of psychological interventions to help and support people with common mental health problems and negative emotions such as low mood, anxiety, depression or stress.

But men often don't recognise they might be struggling with problems such low mood, anxiety, depression or stress and are also often reluctant to seek help if they do think there's a problem. 

As a result, NHS Wellbeing in Norfolk has sponsored the team kit of Norwich and District Sunday League 1a team Vale Longo FC. The new kit carries the NHS Wellbeing service website address and phone number. The team also distributes NHS leaflets in football changing rooms.

Vale Longo FC club secretary Kevin Brown said: "I was aware of the NHS Wellbeing Service needing to get more coverage and get out there. It's a hard market to approach – men around 20 and 30 who just think there's no help out there, and carry on with life without getting help.

"It's about making people aware there is help, and they can use the NHS Wellbeing Service as needed."

So far, the new NHS Wellbeing kit has proved lucky for the team. Vale Longo FC have won all of their last three games in their new kit. It is the first time in three years that the team has won three games on the bounce.

Kevin added: "We also leave the leaflets in the dressing room and say to the other teams 'look at it after the game. Just put it in the bag and have a look at it'. It's just awareness more than anything. If they need someone to talk to, there's help there."

He said the issue of help for men struggling with issues such as stress, depression or anxiety had become more prominent recently, particularly with a number of high-profile sportsmen talking about such problems

Andy Mack, service manager for NHS Wellbeing services in Norfolk, said: "Men and, younger men in particular, are not always good at recognising that they are struggling with stress, anxiety or depression. There is help out there and we just want to raise awareness of the NHS services we provide. We're delighted to help Vale Longo FC and we hope that the new kit gets our message across to more people."​