Head In The Game CIC
Head In The Game is a participant focused project that addresses the stigma of men’s mental health. Our approach is to offer men a safe, secure and comfortable community environment to allow them to engage with one another before any poor mental health escalates.
Our aim is to reduce the number of men who complete suicide at its earliest intervention point. We use football as a vehicle to start these often difficult to have conversations.
Head In The Game has two main directorates, they are Mental Health and Community.
HITG runs dedicated 6 and 12-week programmes. The 12-week programme is currently being delivered in collaboration with Millwall FC’s community arm; The Millwall Community Trust. Our 6-week programme is due to start being delivered with Brentford FC for 6 weeks starting in October.
We have delivered our programme across Kent over the last 18 months – reaching over 250 men and delivering 155 sessions.
How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?
We run weekly mental health / football sessions with the aim of encouraging men to talk and learn ways of managing their mental health whilst improving their wellbeing. Each session has a specific mental health topic that is delivered by our talking therapy leads using football as a way of encouraging men to attend.
What are your current priorities?
Head In The Game became a stand-alone CIC in May 2021 with the sole purpose of developing our project and enabling us to invest into a more solid business model. We have been running HITG sessions for the last 18 months and have already expanded into two new geographical areas with funding received from KCC, The Co-Op, NLCF, Porchlight (Live Well Kent), Canterbury City Council, Maidstone Lions and Sussex Community Foundation.
Our aim is to tackle the stigma of men’s mental health by giving men a place to talk, bond, and get physically / mentally fit by participating in weekly football sessions.
Our 6 core aims / objectives / priorities are:
*To tackle the stigma of talking openly about men’s mental health.
*To promote physical and mental wellbeing.
*To reduce the strain on frontline services.
*To improve health, increase confidence and self-esteem whilst reducing social isolation.
*To raise awareness and help lower the UK suicide rates in men.
*To create open and welcoming atmospheres where personal issues can be raised and discussed in a safe and secure environment.
What challenges are you currently facing?
We are still finding that the biggest challenge is encouraging employers to change their mindset about mental health. We want an environment where it’s ok to call in “unwell” and speak to your employer about a period of poor mental health without fear or concern about what will be said or done in response. This needs to change.