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Club News

Mental Health Awareness Week: How We Can Help

16 May 2024

Club News

Mental Health Awareness Week: How We Can Help

16 May 2024

With it being Mental Health Awareness Week, there’s no better time to signpost to supporters the important and lifechanging provisions which Preston North End Community and Education Trust [PNECET] have to offer.

It is always important to look after your mental health – not just in dedicated weeks such as these – and the club and PNECET are committed to the protection and promotion of mental health and wellbeing all year long.

This year, the focus of the week is on Movement, with the most appropriate provision offered by PNECET being their Walk and Talk For Lilywhites programme, which is a weekly walking group for all ages, encouraging social interaction and physical exercise by walking around Moor Park.

There are plenty of other provisions offered too, including Sporting Memories which is designed for those living with dementia and loneliness, Headstart which supports year six children transitioning into high school, and a new early intervention project called Game Changer.

Jess Riley, PNECET’s Head of Health and Wellbeing, said: “Feedback is really positive. For some people we’ve been told that it has literally changed their lives. Without the support, without the projects or programmes offered, they simply wouldn’t be with us today which on one hand is really sad but on the other for us it shows everything we’re doing is moving in the right direction.

“We are there for people and sometimes we’re their last resort, but actually we’ve changed someone’s lifestyle and supported them to get back on track which is what we’re all about.

“It’s just so important that we remain that figure within the community where people can reach out to us for their mental health support but also for the lifestyle change.”

For a lot of the provisions offered, sometimes it’s simply about offering people avenues of social connections where they can establish relationships and interact with like-minded people.

Others – for example the Game Changer provision – help to revolutionise the way we think, talk and act about mental health, giving young people the tools to increase resilience and provide education on coping strategies.

Jess said: “What’s really important is that we’re not necessarily a GP. We are just someone who operates in a football stadium. We’re trusted allies in the community so people come to us knowing that we’re not going to give them medication or a prescription, we’re actually there for much more than that.

“It’s about the lifestyle change for us, so what can we do beyond that period of time where they might be feeling a little bit better but actually in the long term they might relapse and go back into that poor state of mental health, so for us it’s really important that we provide the long-term lifestyle change as opposed to a quick fix.

“Mental health can’t be a quick fix. It’s something that some people need to work on. Some people get better after a short period of time, some people need that long-term support. For us it’s just really important we are recognised in the community as being there to support them, and actually we have that in-house expertise to be able to signpost to services that can offer that ongoing and professional support that they might need.”

You can watch the full interview with Jess at the top of the page, and please click here to find more mental health resources.

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