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Active Minds having a positive impact on mental health

Posted onPosted on 10th Oct

Mansfield Town Football in the Community’s ‘Active Minds: Chat’ session has had a massive impact on the Mental wellbeing of its participants, as it approaches its first birthday.

Working regularly with around 20 participants per week, ‘Active Minds’ gives those facing social isolation, suffering from mental health issues or living with Dementia a safe haven to make new friends and enjoy a range of positive activities.

Marking World Mental Health Day today [Thursday 10th October], participants and their loved ones have been speaking about the impact ‘Active Minds’ has on their mental health.

Carol Wright is the wife of long-term attendee Peter and believes the sessions have helped to transform his Mental Health in the fight against Dementia.

She said: “Since the group began a year ago he’s only missed two sessions through holiday, it’s his highlight of the week. He gets up a totally different person on a Friday morning and when we go away from here [the sessions] he goes flat again.

“People don’t believe the difference in him so it’s well worth it [attending] – he worked at the club as a steward for two decades and apart from watching the games, this is the main thing in his life.

“That sounds sad as he’s got grandchildren & family, he loves them of course, but this just makes such a difference to him.”

Mick Walker, 80, was diagnosed with a form of mixed Vascular Dementia in December 2018 and has been attending the sessions for ten months.

“I really enjoy the company, being with the lads and having someone different to talk to,” said Mick.

“The wife and I used to watch the games from the North Stand during our youth, so coming back brings back lots of happy memories.

“Everyone here is trying to help us I’ve made lots of new friends. It’s really good for all of us – all of the staff are brilliant, I really appreciate how they’re trying to help us with the variety of activities they put on.

“It gives us all something to do, something to talk about and really look forward too – coming here means you’re not sat at home, shut down.”

Norma Walker, Mick’s wife, has been stunned by the difference the group has made on Mick.

“He really needs this session to keep his brain active, we met at 16 and have been married 61 years now and it kills me inside to see how the dementia has taken its toll – he lives for Fridays and, to be honest, so do I, because he lights back up.

“Friday is his day, any other day he doesn’t like and he becomes depressed – he loves it here. It gives him a meaning to get up and come out, and as for me? Well I couldn’t be more grateful that this group exists, I honestly have no idea what I’d do without it.”

Active Minds is open for anyone living with dementia, those caring for anyone living dementia, or those with any form of mental illness or suffering from social isolation.

Sessions take place at the One Call Stadium every Friday, from 10am to 12noon, and are free to attend. For further information, contact Football in the Community on 01623 656 920.