A JOINT project by Livewell Southwest and Argyle Community Trust to help men tackle mental health conditions through football has celebrated its 10th anniversary.

It’s a Goal addresses the problem of depression and other mental health issues in men aged between 16 and 35 – a group traditionally hard to reach by the usual routes.

The therapeutic programme uses football analogies in talking therapies and men completing the ‘season’ show significant increases in confidence, self esteem and communication skills with reduced issues associated with violence and aggression, and drugs and alcohol.

The programme also led to the launch of a lunchtime football group at the Goals Centre, funded by Livewell Southwest with coaching from Plymouth Argyle staff. To mark the anniversary, Plymouth Argyle chief executive Martyn Starnes presented awards to Rob Jackson, Livewell Southwest mental health nurse who leads the sessions, and Mickey McCloskey, Argyle coach, to mark their success.

Argyle’s Health and Disability Officer Josh Grant said: “We are all very proud of the ‘It’s a Goal’ programme and the tremendous achievements over the past 10 years. “It is fantastic to have a programme dedicated to people living with difficult conditions and see them flourish in a new environment. I would also like to congratulate Rob Jackson and Mickey McCloskey, who have brilliantly served the programme throughout the past decade.”

More than 300 men have benefited from the programme, and Rob Jackson was instrumental in getting it started. He was delighted to receive the commendation and said: “I see real improvements in people’s mental health through this programme. It balances physical health benefits with mental health therapy and encourages people to talk. There’s real peer support in the sessions and the games, and it’s great that some of the men who have been through the course are now volunteers with us.”

Argyle Community Trust is delighted to announce first-team manager at Home Park, Derek Adams, has now become the official Ambassador for our Ability Counts programme.

For more information on It’s a Goal, please contact community@pafc.co.uk or Sarah Hyde at Livewell Southwest at sarah.hyde6@nhs.net

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