PhD student Laura works on mental health project

14/10/2021 by Sinead Staunton

Mental Health football session at Birmingham City FC

Newman University, Sport Birmingham, and Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust are working in partnership on a programme which aims to bring about changes across people, organisations and local services that will impact local communities.

As part of the project they work with the Community Trust at Birmingham City Football Club and run an event called Moving Lives Healthy Minds. The event is delivered every Friday and is a sport-based social recovery project for people who have been diagnosed with severe and enduring mental health illnesses. One of Newman University’s PhD students, Laura Scoles, helps with the project each week.

To mark World Mental Health Day on Sunday 10th October, the Moving Lives Healthy Minds event last week had a visit from Birmingham City’s Goalkeeper, Neil Etheridge. Neil spectated the session as the players trained and then discussed his own routine and the importance of staying active to help with mental health. He also signed autographs and spoke individually to those taking part.

Student Laura has been working on the project which is now halfway through its 24-weeks and everyone has noticed the improvement in the health of the participants. Laura commented, “I am very proud to be representing Newman University on the Moving Lives, Healthy Minds programme. As part of my PhD, I will be evaluating the project, and how physical activity and sport can positively affect self-esteem, social connections, and overall wellbeing for participants. I am very passionate about the project and offering supportive physical activity sessions to those who can often find it challenging accessing such sessions.”

Luke Hedley, Health and Wellbeing Manager at Sport Birmingham leads on parts of the programme and Luke added “We are halfway through the Moving Lives, Healthy Minds project in Longbridge and it’s been fantastic working with various clubs and organisations from across the local area. We have been able to upskill and provide in depth mental health training to key coaches and instructors at all 9 of the organisations involved in the project, enabling participants attending sessions to feel safe and confident, knowing that the workforce delivering activities to them have the necessary skills and tools in place to support them fully. It’s been incredibly inspirational witnessing the power of sport and physical activity and the associated benefits that it can have on mental health and wellbeing and I look forward to seeing the project continue to grow and develop.”