We're celebrating the great work Welsh football has done for mental health sufferers
7 June 2017

We're celebrating the great work Welsh football has done for mental health sufferers

Join us at Dragon Park for one of the football events of the summer

A tournament between the four clubs who take part in our We Wear the Same Shirt mental health football programme is being held at Dragon Park on Sunday.

Teams from Wrexham, Newtown, Newport County and Merthyr Town will contents the inaugural We War the Same Shirt tournament between 11am and 3pm.

We Wear the Same Shirt is a football programme for people with mental health problems. It was set up in 2015 and the Dragon Park tournament will celebrate the end of the project.

The pilot programme has been developed and delivered in partnership by the FAW Trust and Time to Change Wales, the first national campaign to tackle the stigma associated with mental health in Wales. It was made possible by Sport Wales’ Calls4Action funding programme.

It has helped people like Luke Martin, of Pill, Newport, who suffers from schizophrenia.

The 24-year-old, who plays for the Newport County Mental Health team said: "The first time I went, I felt a bit nervous because I didn’t know anyone but now they’re all my friends.

“It’s helped with my schizophrenia because it’s good to talk to people and this is a group of people who I get along with very well.”

Club coaches and staff have delivered the sessions, designed to be free of the pressures of competition.

Participants from each club will take part in Sunday's tournament, which will also serve as a thank you to the participants for their commitment and dedication since the programme's launch.

Time to Change Wales Programme Manager Lowri Wyn Jones said: “It’s a true testament to the success of the We Wear the Same Shirt sessions that we are able to invite the committed and dedicated participants from the clubs spread across Wales to the tournament.

"The sessions have proven to be really beneficial and further highlight the link between increased physical activity and positive mental well being. The most important achievement of the sessions has been the communities that have formed in each club’s session, as social interaction and regular patterns in routine can be crucial for someone with a mental health problem.”

FAW Trust Senior Partnership Manager Chris Foot said: “We Wear the Same Shirt has been a brilliant initiative because it has improved the well being of people with mental health problems and has shown that football can bring people together by creating communities and links in our society.

"Regular contact and support from a network of friends and coaches have meant that the participants have been able to open up about their problems and in doing so have reduced some of the stigma that often surrounds mental health problems and discourages people from seeking help.”

We're celebrating the great work Welsh football has done for mental health sufferers with a tournament