MOSSLEY AFC has formed a new DMH team (Disability/Mental Health) with the launch coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Week.
Led by Mossley men Sean McCarron and James Paul, the team’s main focus is bringing together people who primarily have learning disabilities and mental health issues. Through playing football, players keep in regular contact and provide one another with support.
As well as playing in the Cheshire FA’s Ability Counts League, the team will also continue to organise and play in various local charity games and tournaments designed to promote disability and mental health awareness.
The team has existed previously as until recently it was part of the Stalybridge Celtic Foundation.
Sean and James are both support workers helping those with learning disabilities while Sean has also had family members who have had mental health issues which is why he became involved in setting up the team.
Sean has received positive feedback since the team was formed – it has grown from an initial five players to 16 and is still increasing.
He explained: “We have players who suffer from autism, anxiety and depression, but through football there is a real bond.
“Football enables players to reach out and share their struggles. We are friends, travel to games together and act as support workers and counsellors to one another.
“We all love football and being part of a team and if somebody had a problem, they always have somebody to talk to.
“Our main aim is to teach individuals that have disabilities and mental health problems that nothing should hold them back and that the team is there to help them.
“We hope to enjoy ourselves by participating in leagues and tournaments while at the same time spread awareness and remove stereotypical attitudes towards disability and mental health.
“We’re delighted to be part of Mossley AFC and cannot wait to see what the future holds for the team.”
Sean and James thanked Leonard Curtis Business Solutions and Cerberus Group for their generous sponsorship and club director Steve Crompton for co-ordinating the move.
“We’d also like to thank Mike Smith, formerly of Stalybridge Celtic Foundation but now with Curzon Ashton Foundation, for helping us build the team and guide us along the way,” he said.