Mental Health football tournament looks to tackle stigma with first event at University of South Wales

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By Ethan Harris | @_EthanHarris1

Students from the University of South Wales have held the first ‘Time2Talk’ football tournament which aims to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health in sport.

The name was chosen by organisers in an effort to help those suffering in silence come forward and talk.

Sam Morris, one of the organisers explained why the tournament was so important.

“I’ve worked with mental health football for the past two years. When we heard we had to run an event, we as a group felt that it would be a positive event and put it under the university name.

“It is well known that participating in physical activity has a positive impact on physical and mental health. So, it seemed to be a great time to introduce a mental health tournament aiming to stop the silence and raise the awareness of speaking out about problems.”

The tournament attracted seven teams of mixed genders, with the Wrexham Inclusion FC side travelling over 127 miles to star alongside others from across the country.

The players, who were all of different abilities, were keen to raise awareness of mental health.

With three trophies on offer, sides were competing for a Champions League, Europa League and best player prize.

The ‘Street Football Wales Dons’ took home the Champions League trophy, with the ‘Wrexham Yellows’ taking the Europa League prize back home to North Wales.

Charity ‘Time to Change’ linked up with the event to present trophies and awards to all participants.

According to the Football Association, football can help by improving social inclusion and physical health, which can be more difficult for those with mental health issues.

Sam Morris later reflected on what was a good day: “It was an absolutely brilliant success, we’ve had seven teams from all across Wales, from Wrexham all the way down to Cardiff.

“We’ve had over 70 participants, so it’s been an absolutely cracking day.

Morris was thrilled with the efforts of the Wrexham sides in particular, with the North Wales contingent travelling for several hours to make it on the day.

“It just makes it worth it,” he added.

“They travelled down since six or seven this morning, so their efforts will be well recognised,

“It just shows how far we’ve grown with our event from only having four teams, to now having seven, and with Wrexham joining it’s really good to see in the end.”

Morris, along with fellow organisers, Jacob Newman, Jamie Griffin and Oliver Darlington were happy with their student project, thanking those who took part in the day.

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