Mental health issues tackled through football

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The [me]united team. Pic © Matthew Gordon

A Liverpool football team set up as a sport therapy service is expanding the project to a new location to help more people suffering with mental illnesses.

The team, called [me]united, was formed in July 2017 by their coach, Matthew Gordon, who has suffered with poor mental health in the past.

After initial success, a new session will be held weekly at Halewood Leisure Centre from 7pm until 8pm to assist others with their struggles.

Mr Gordon puts his own time and cash into the endeavour, which attracts already attracts around 20-30 participants every week at Walton Sports Centre.

He told JMU Journalism: “I use my own money to fund [me]United. I also get help from Liverpool County FA and a small grant from Liverpool City Council.”

Members of the team do not need a doctor’s referral and people from all walks of life are welcome. The idea is to provide a positive and friendly environment to play sport with likeminded souls. Players of any ability level are welcome and no negative scrutiny, shouting or aggression will be shown towards any participants.

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Mr Gordon said: “I have battled with ill mental health for many years. After therapy, assessments, tablets and being close to ending it all, I was referred onto a sports therapy programme. Getting help and getting on the programme took far too long, leaving me lost and stressed.

“I want to be able to help participants play sport in order to improve their mental health. To do this I have designed [me]united to be a very simple programme to enter.

“Since starting [me]united I have seen an improvement in my own mental health. Being surrounded by other individuals who have been through similar experiences really helps. With regular physical activity, releasing lots of positive chemicals and endorphins, I have recently been able to withdraw from my regular medication, using sport as my therapy instead.”