Barnsley’s mental health programme ‘Safety Nets’ launches

Reds in the Community (RitC), a registered charity delivering community and charitable activities on behalf of Barnsley Football Club, are proud to be launching Safety Nets, a mental health programme run in partnership with CAMHS Barnsley.

CAMHS – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – is an NHS provided service for people up to the age of 18 with mental ill health or emotional difficulties.

Currently operating across the borough, CAMHS Barnsley support children and families through a wide variety of issues.

Following a successful pilot initiative, and with a second scheme already underway, RitC are marking World Mental Health Day 2019 by officially launching Safety Nets.

The weekly programme, which is based at Oakwell, incorporates an hour of physical activity and sport with a 30-minute workshop focusing on a wide range of topics including living a healthy lifestyle, coping strategies and social media.

Women & Girls Development Officer Lynn Goodman, who also delivers Reds in the Community’s mental health football session each Tuesday, gave an insight into why this work is so important.

She said: “The sessions are aimed at getting 11-18-year-olds active. The sessions are running well. In the last batch, they were 15-year-olds. Towards week three or four, they come out more confident and were very expressive with what help they need and the importance of lifestyle.

“Children and young adults find it difficult to cope, especially teens because they’ve got exams as well so they’ve got more pressure on them. With Football Club’s it’s big. Mental health is out there and it’s alright to say you’ve got issues. We’re trying to just help the young people.”

Jack Mooney is the CAMHS lead on the programme at Reds in the Community.

He explained the initiative further and the perks of using sport as a tool for discussing and promoting positive mental health.

“Safety Nets is a programme that aims to engage people in discussions about mental health and promoting positive mental health through the medium of sport,” said Jack. “We’ve already run one cohort in Barnsley with the help of Reds in the Community. We are currently in the middle of the second one. For the first time we run it, we run it for people aged 14-16-year-old who were already known to Barnsley CAMHS and accessing the service. We got really good feedback.

“On this occasion, we are aiming it at a slightly younger audience and it’s going really well. The feedback we got was really positive about combining sport with some discussion around mental health. We’ve kept the focus largely on the sport, promoting positive mental health through engagement in physical activity.”