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Essex County FA back mental health awareness week

13th May 2019
Posted by Johnny Jenkins

The Essex County FA are supporting Mental Health Awareness Week from Monday 13th to Sunday 19th May by launching a brand new wellbeing session in Clacton, using football to “create social integrations and boost self-confidence.”

Mental Health Awareness Week is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation. The theme for 2019 is ‘Body Image’ – how people think and feel about their bodies. Body image issues can affect anyone at any age so, during the week, the Foundation will be publishing new research, considering some of the reasons why body image can impact the way individuals feel.

Since their first Mental Health Awareness Week in 2001, they’ve raised awareness of topics like stress, relationships, loneliness, altruism, sleep, alcohol and friendship. This year they want to reach more people than ever, and Essex County FA Disability Football Development Officer, Cindi Chatha, believes football has a huge part to play.

She explained:

“We’d like to raise awareness of, and break the stigma around, mental health. We believe that sport can play a huge role in tackling stigma and its effects in breaking down boundaries between people with and without mental health problems. It can create social integrations and boost self-confidence, as well as tackling physical health inequalities.”

“Anyone involved in football can help promote positive mental health. All we need to do is open a door to conversation without judgement or prejudice and recognise various signs. For example, if an individual’s personality or demeanour changes. One in four adults every year is experiencing diagnosable mental ill-health, and football can be a great way to support recovery.”

The Essex County FA are working with various organisations to deliver a number of wellbeing sessions across the county, helping to promote positive mental health and increase awareness, encouraging individuals to speak up. A brand new session is being launched on Monday 13th May at Clacton Leisure Centre.

Other existing sessions take place on Thursdays (Colchester Leisure Centre), Saturdays (Basildon Lower Academy) and Mondays (Chelmsford Sport and Athletics Centre). “Our football sessions aid in reducing stress, depression and anxiety, while increasing mood, concentration, sleep habits and self-confidence,” Cindi added.

Find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week at, or visit for further details on grassroots Essex football. Information is also shared on Twitter by @EssexCountyFA and on the ‘EssexFootball’ page on Facebook. To attend one of the wellbeing sessions, E-Mail [email protected] or call (01245) 393090.

If you require any support, or someone to talk to, contact any of the organisations below:

Samaritans: Confidential, non-judgement emotional support, 24 hours a day, for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide: 116 123 or

Papyrus HOPELINEUK: Under 35 and struggling with suicidal feelings, or concerned about a young person who may be struggling? (0800) 068 4141 (Text 07786 209697)

SANEline: SANE provides practical help to improve quality of life for people affected by mental illness: (0845) 304 7000

Switchboard: If you identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, then call: (0300) 330 0630

Mind and Rethink: The mental health charities who run the ‘Time to Change’ Campaign have a wealth of information and resources about mental health issues. There are also local branches of Mind and Rethink. The service that they provide varies, but there is likely to be a branch near you which will offer some support and information: (0300) 304 7000

CALM: If you are male, call: (0800) 58 58 58

Students: If you are a student, then look on the Nightline website ( to see if your university or college offers a night-time listening service.