New project with Wayne Rooney leads to large improvement in men’s mental health

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Derby County Community Trust’s Team Talk project, which aims to tackle the stigma associated with men’s mental health, has benefited almost all those who have attended it.

The project, which was launched in November last year, uses football fandom as an engagement tool to help men talk about their mental health.

Over the past 12 months, 98% of men who attended Team Talk said it had improved their mental wellbeing, according to research by the University of Derby, with calls now to engage more workers up and down the country.

All participants surveyed said they would encourage others to join – with friends’ recommendations a critical factor in tackling men’s mental health issues.

The university research concluded that “there is a sufficiently strong endorsement of the programme to justify other football clubs using the same model.”

A study conducted by mental health charity, Mind, in June 2020 said that more than half of adults (60%) said that their mental health had deteriorated during lockdown.

HR has its work cut out taking care of the mental health of its varied workforce, yet programmes such as these demonstrate the help it can get from local services.

The project has now been renewed and online gambling business 32Red has reinvested in order to help develop the programme.

32Red general manager Neil Banbury said: “Using the unique relationship supporters have with their local club, we hope to reach many more men with the expanded mental health support services who would otherwise be suffering in silence.

“We know from our Tackling the Stigma report that men are at increased risk of suffering from their mental health – but that they are also most likely to engage with projects that involve the football clubs they cherish.”

Banbury added: “Our partnership with Derby County Community Trust shows our deep commitment to continue developing a new model for football club sponsorship. Kindred Group [32Red parent] is leading the way in becoming a sponsor of choice for a club and its community.”

Head of community at Derby County Community Trust Simon Carnall said: “This renewal of our partnership means we can now expand the programme and reach many more men with mental health problems across the community over the coming year.

“At a time when the coronavirus pandemic is making things even harder for men, this is a timely project, especially based on the fact we are now heading into a second lockdown.”

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