Brian promoting positive wellbeing at his local football club
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Football has always been my life. When I was told at the age of 24 that I couldn’t play the game anymore, I decided that I still wanted to be involved with the club, so I went on to become a coach.
I volunteer as a football coach with the 22nd Old Boys and Ladies Club in west Belfast. We use football as a way of getting people in our club interested in learning about mental health and how they can improve their own wellbeing.
I understand first-hand the mental health struggles that come with not being able to play football, and others in my family have been affected by poor mental health. I started doing research about how we as a club could get more involved with promoting positive wellbeing, and that’s when we began working with 'Tackling Awareness of Mental Health Issues' (TAMHI) and learned how to promote mental health through sport.
Being able to see the younger players coming through, who don’t have much in life and see them enjoying their football and the social inclusion, it’s very satisfying. You’re helping out because you want to do it, because you’re passionate about it, and that in itself is just so rewarding. I get a lot out of it.
I’ve been a coach for over 20 years and for me, my work is about a sense of achievement. In football, it’s so often focused on results, but it isn’t always about winning.