13 – 19 May 2019 marked Mental Health Awareness Week, a pivotal week in the calendar aimed at raising awareness of mental health, and combatting societal stigma and stereotypes that still exist today.

More than raising awareness, the week is also about recovery. It’s about looking after our own well being and taking time to think about how we can support others, too.

To mark the week, and to mark the importance of recovery and togetherness, our Wandsworth Mental Health service held a friendly football tournament, kindly hosted by the lovely team at the Wandle Recreation Centre.

People supported by the service came together with staff and volunteers alike to go header to header in a tense yet team-building series of matches, with the overall win going to the footie fanatics on Team Yellow after what can only be described as a pitch-perfect goal…

There has long been a conversation around the benefits to mental health of having good physical health, with research showing that physical exercise releases positive chemicals, endorphins, in the brain, which can boost our mood. In addition, group exercise can be a fantastic opportunity to build relationships, have a laugh and be active in doing something we love, whether that’s on the pitch, in the pool or on the court.

Jim*, who is supported by our service in Wandsworth, said:

“The football has been very good. It seems to be a long time ago that I started playing. I also love rugby, and do volunteering, reception work twice a week, as well as cooking on Saturday afternoons.”

Will Walker, Area Manager for Hestia's Mental Health services, said:

"It has been a wonderful football tournament today and a fantastic opportunity for service users, staff and volunteers to come together and promote recovery, wellbeing and physical exercise as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. Thank you to Vicky Okusaga and her team, especially Chris Monier Williams our social integration worker, for organising such a brilliant event and also the UK SAYS NO MORE team for joining us and giving such great support."

We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who came along and received a medal for taking part in the football fun (after all, it’s the taking part that counts!), and a special thank you to Wandle Recreation Centre for allowing us to take over their pitch for the afternoon.

Finally, big congratulations to those who took Wandsworth by storm: Team Yellow!

Learn about our Mental Health services

Learn about our services in Wandsworth