Preston North End Community and Education Trust developed the bespoke mental health programme for Joe Martin in late 2019 after he sadly lost his father to suicide the previous year.
Joe had already struggled with his mental health beforehand, having been referred to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). His primary form of escapism has always been football but with the loos of his father Joe began to suffer from anxiety within a footballing environment, causing him to become nervous about playing in matches.
Joe's mum sent an email to PNECET's Assistant Head of Community Harriet Creighton-Levis in the hope of finding health and support for Joe through football, with all EFL clubs currently partnered with the mental health charity Mind.
Harriet met Joe at his school to learn how PNECET could help and a unique programme was developed to build Joe's confidence, communication, resilience and leadership skills. Joe had learned that rediscovering his confidence and enjoyment of sport could prove one of the best routes to aid his recovery.
As part of his mental health plan, Joe has been given a number of unique opportunities in football which have included visiting the Preston North End first team training ground, supporting our staff as an assistant coach on the PNE half-term soccer school camps and helping to co-ordinate the half-time penalty shoot out on first team matchdays at Deepdale.
More recently, Joe's 11-year-old brother Ollie and seven-year-old Charlie have also been enrolled on the programme, having both lost their fathers to suicide as well.