Coping Through Football is an innovative project in North East London that offers football coaching sessions to aid the recovery of young people and adults experiencing mental health problems. To deliver the project two charities; London Playing Fields Foundation and Leyton Orient Trust collaborated with the local NHS Mental Health Trust (NELFT).
SPHR researchers evaluated the effectiveness of the project by:
- Examining the existing evidence to measure the feasibility and effectiveness of football based mental heath schemes
- Assessing improvements in mental health and physical health outcomes
- Assessing any social benefits
- Identifying the costs and benefits associated with the delivery of the project
SPHR researchers found from a review of existing evidence, football shows promise as a vehicle for mental health recovery and is generally very well received by users.
SPHR researchers found that Coping Through Football led to nearly double the level of weekly exercise over a six month period and had a wide range of psychological and social benefits including wider social networks, self-esteem and lifestyle changes. Individuals taking part in found it to be non-stigmatising, enjoyable and highly valued the project.
Researchers found it difficult to estimate the impact on employment and health but felt the project’s social and economical benefits far outweigh its costs.
The research was funded by the NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR) Public Health Practice Evaluation Scheme (PHPES) in collaboration with Public Health England.
In the news
Friedrich, B., & Mason, O. J. (2017). “What is the score?” A review of football-based public mental health interventions. Journal of public mental health, 16(4), 144-158.
Friedrich, B., & Mason, O. J. (2017). Evaluation of the Coping Through Football Project: Physical Activity and Psychosocial Outcomes. The Open Public Health Journal, 10(1).
Friedrich, B., & Mason, O. (2018). Applying Positive Psychology Principles to Soccer Interventions for People with Mental Health Difficulties. Psychology, 9, 372-384.
Friedrich, B., & Mason, O. J. (in press). Qualitative evaluation of a football intervention for people with mental health problems in the north east of London. Mental Health and Physical Activity.