Everton FC Pilot Smokefree Mental Health Training

Everton FC Pilot Smokefree Mental Health Training

Smokefree Mental Health Brief Intervention Training for ‘Imagine Your Goals’ Project

A smokefree mental health brief intervention training package aimed at professional sports clubs with interventions addressing mental health issues has recently been developed and successfully delivered in conjunction with the European Healthy Stadia Network’s parent charity, Heart of Mersey. Heart of Mersey has delivered this training at an initial pilot session to community coaches attached to Everton Football Club’s ‘Imagine Your Goals’ mental health programme.

Everton’s Imagine Your Goals programme uses the power of football as a positive vehicle to address a number of different issues relating to mental illness. Sport and Leisure co-ordinators from various mental health day centres on Merseyside have helped those who have experienced mental health problems to re gain their confidence through weekly coaching sessions. As the first project of its kind in the country to be delivered by a professional football club and owing to the project’s success on Merseyside, the English Premier League have now partnered with national mental health charity ‘Time To Change’ and Comic/Sport Relief to fund other Premier League clubs to replicate some element of ‘Imagine Your Goals’.

In mid-October Heart of Mersey delivered a 90 minute training session offering background information, smoking cessation brief intervention training and specialist materials for coaches attached to Everton’s Imagine Your Goals programme. Research has highlighted much higher levels of smoking amongst people living with a mental health condition, with evidence showing that nearly half (42%) of all tobacco consumption in England is by people living with a mental health condition. The course is therefore designed specifically for coaches to work with mental health service users on the topic of smoking reduction and cessation. Feedback from participants on the course was very strong, with participants intending to incorporate stop smoking advice and support to people living with a mental health condition into their working practice.

It is envisaged that the training will be rolled out as a ‘train the trainer’ package for further capacity building and increased referral to local stop smoking services to other professional sports clubs who are delivering Imagine Your Goals projects or similar mental health interventions.

For further information and to request a copy of the evaluation, please contact Jo McCullagh, Tobacco Control Lead for Heart of Mersey: jo.mccullagh@heartofmersey.org.uk

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