New football games tackle mental health and isolation in York

JoeGardham

JoeGardham

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New football games tackle mental health and isolation in York

Social Vision jumped at the opportunity to bring Dads v Dads to York. The national franchise, originating in the Midlands, was right up my street – easily accessible, fun sport for busy Dads. However, after a couple of weeks I’ve realised it’s not quite like that and, whilst catchy, the name may be a slight misnomer.

I would like to think that coming and playing football once a week is having a positive impact on at least one person’s wellbeing.

Over two sessions we have attracted 18 different players. Some of them are Dads, some not. The general feature of all players is that we’re predominately older (average age late 30s), used to love playing sport, and have stopped due to life circumstance. But that’s where the similarities end. Whilst parenthood is a definite factor, some players are working all hours and have no time to commit to a team. Others have returned from injury or poor fitness and struggled to find a team to reconnect with at a later age. A few of the lads have moved to York recently, and don’t yet have social circles.

All of these factors that unite us, can also cause severe mental health issues. Loneliness and isolation is a huge issue in adult men, and depression, anxiety and suicide are coming more into the public eye. Having a child and stopping sport can often be emasculating, resulting in low self-esteem and confidence. Moving City is a huge transition at any stage of life, but can be especially challenging for men who have built social circles around a team sport.

So, whilst these issues aren’t unique to men or Dads, nor am I an expert in mental health, I am a sport-loving Dad so it felt natural to bring the franchise to York.

Teaming up with the likes of Yorkey Dads and York Mumbler has really had an impact on attendance, and we’ve had some great games, got to know each other, and started planning non-football related events and occasions. I would like to think that coming and playing football once a week is having a positive impact on at least one person’s wellbeing.

If you, or someone you know, would be interested in joining us, they can find out more at http://www.dadsvdads.com. It is free to join, and you just pay (£6) as you play. All the payments are handled online, and you don’t have to do any organising or commit. Just pay and head down. There’s no tackling allowed, we don’t have referees, and it’s played in a gentlemanly spirit.

 

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