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Corporate social responsibility and mental health: the Premier League football Imagine Your Goals programme

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JournalInternational review of psychiatry
DatePublished - Aug 2014
Issue number4
Volume26
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)460-466
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Football is increasingly used to facilitate recovery in mental health services, often in partnership with football clubs. However, few clubs have made mental health part of their corporate social responsibility programmes until recently. We report the impact on participants of the 'Imagine Your Goals' programme, run by 16 Premier League football clubs in conjunction with England's Time to Change programme to reduce mental health-related stigma and discrimination. Mixed methods evaluation used pre/post measures of well-being, access to social capital, focus groups held early on and towards the end of the two-year programmes, and questionnaires for coaching staff. There were no significant changes to participants' mental well-being scores between baseline and follow-up, nor to the total number of social resources accessible through their networks. However, there was a statistically significant increase at follow-up in the mean score of the personal skills subscale of the Resource Generator-UK. Participants' individual skills were also higher at follow-up. Qualitative data showed programmes had largely met participants' expectations in terms of socializing, providing structure and improving fitness levels, exceeded expectations in relationships with coaching staff and additional activities, but did not always meet them in improving football skills. Participants varied in their knowledge of exit opportunities, depending on which club's programme they attended. A minority of clubs reported difficulties in recruitment and concerns about planning for the future of the projects. Football clubs and the charitable foundations they set up can successfully deliver programmes to people with mental health problems which improve access to personal skills social capital and have other potential benefits.

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