It is Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK which gives opportunity to talk about the problems and stigmas attached to mental health issues. It is a campaign to raise awareness around the daily problems affecting millions of people in the UK and with that in mind we take a look at Sands United based in Brighton and Hove.
Sands United is a football team for men who have lost children to miscarriage or stillbirth, helping them to deal with their grief, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). SANDS are named after the “Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity”
The team have had incredible success since its inception in the north of the country, and they are now looking to replicate this success in Sussex offering football and support throughout the county.
Sands United have committed to our Pledge Project and will actively work with our Inclusion Advisory Group to develop it further.
The club are looking for players and volunteers who will be unified in grief to become part of a new footballing family. Each game will be dedicated to their children and the players will have the names of their lost babies embroidered on their football shirts close to their heart.
The objective is to help grieving fathers open up about their feelings and not bottle it up. Depression and PTSD are mental health issues that can lead from such tragedies but through Sands United they will gain the support and network they need so they can finally feel comfortable to open up about their loss.
Jade Harker (Sussex County FA Disability and Equality Lead Officer) had this to say: “This is a project that I am really excited about getting involved with. Although it’s slowly changing, there is still a huge stigma around Mental Health so this team will go a long way to supporting mental health through football.
“I have always believed that football is a powerful tool that can be used to bring people together, increase positive Mental Health and change people’s lives for the better. This project will do all of those things!”
For more information about Sands United you can contact Andy Lindley at the club:
M: 07764 537078