A new initiative has been launched to support young people in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven experiencing emotional and mental health issues.
Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust has joined forces with Bradford City Football Club to run the project called Safety Nets. The project enables young people with mental health needs, who are accessing the Trust’s Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), to set goals and get advice about the importance of exercise.
Studies have shown the importance of good physical health in maintaining positive mental health for young people. Even a 10-minute brisk walk increases mental alertness, energy and positively boosts mood, whilst vigorous physical activity protects against depressive symptoms.
The Safety Nets initiative is the brainchild of Dr Ryan Dias, a Yorkshire leadership fellow in the Humber Deanery. Dr Ryan Dias said: “The project aims to create therapy groups for children to improve their mental and emotional wellbeing. The groups run at Bradford City Football Club for eight weeks, with each weekly group focusing on different aspects of physical and mental health.
“Each group runs for two hours after school in term time, the first hour focusing on physical activity which is led by Bradford City Football Club, and the second hour focusing on psychoeducation, led by staff from Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust’s CAMHS.”
The groups enable young people to learn about how and why anxiety and low mood occur, as well as giving them the tools and techniques to manage their mental wellbeing. Over the eight weeks, young people also gain a clearer understanding of the direct links between physical activity and emotional wellbeing, as well as reflecting on their own emotional wellbeing, diet, relationships, sleep and relaxation techniques.
Helen Lees, Acting Team Manager Psychological Therapists for CAMHS, said: “The launch of Safety Nets is great as stigma is a common barrier for young people accessing mental health and wellbeing services. It often prevents people from getting the help that they need early on. As the football club is at the heart of the community in Bradford, it’s good to have young people and CAMHS staff involved in exercise, enjoying sports and having fun, whilst benefiting from psycho education side-by-side, instead of in a clinic setting, it supports the message around the importance of good mental health and provides young people across Bradford district and Craven with access to the support they need.”
Ian Ormondroyd, Chief Executive, Bradford City FC Community Foundation said: “Here at the Community Foundation, we are delighted to work alongside the Bradford CAMHS Team. Hopefully we can provide a programme that will help young people to improve their mental health through the power of exercise and Bradford City FC.”