How this Wigan five-a-side team supports mental health
When Place 2 Place FC was created just over a year ago, its founder had one goal - to promote positive attitudes towards mental health.
“Fitness and positive mental health go hand in hand, so running a sports and social club that promotes positive attitudes seems like an obvious fit,” said Peter Hill, the founder of Place 2 Place FC, which uses five-a-side football as a casual way to start conversations about mental health.
Peter, from Beech Hill, came face to face with the devastating effects of poor mental health, after his best friend took his own life in 2014, at just 30 years old.
Shortly after his friend passed away, his friend’s stepdad and brother also committed suicide. Within the space of 18 months, three men in the same family had taken their own lives.
It was following the three tragic deaths, and then the shock of another, that Peter decided to take a stand against mental health stigma, starting with a charity bike ride to Paris, then going on to found the five-a-side team.
“After personally losing a few people to suicide, it’s certainly helped me talk about the situation and come to terms with it,” said Peter.
It’s a much more laid-back method of tackling the issue of suicide, which many have said has been more beneficial than more traditional approaches.
Peter said: “Place 2 Place is about giving you some of that, just making some time to social, get fit and have a laugh with some mates. We also use the club app and page to signpost people towards help if coming down isn’t for them.”
He went on: “You can’t always see what people are going through, so sometimes people assume wrongly that nothing is going on. I have learnt through personally through this project that people in general have unbelievable amounts of things going on everyday.
"Real tough heartbreaking situations, every day. Money problems, bereavement, depression, anxiety. The most intense, stressful situations every single day. So my advice on World Mental Health Day is: don’t assume your group hasn’t got an issue with it. You just might not see it.”
The club is open to everyone, but asks members to be mindful of the challenging circumstances some players may be facing.
You can find out more about Place 2 Place by visiting facebook.com/place2placefc