Mental health awareness sessions funded by West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership

West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership (WY HCP) has funded mental health and suicide awareness-raising sessions across the region with the support of ex-professional sportsmen.

WY HCP commissioned the charity State of Mind Sport with a two-year contract to deploy their mental fitness sessions throughout businesses in West Yorkshire as part of their Suicide Prevention Programme.

The sessions were targeted towards organisations with a largely male workforce. The sessions involved the sportsmen sharing their own experiences to help break down the stigma surrounding male mental health.

A total of 50 sessions were delivered across Calderdale, Leeds, Wakefield, Bradford and Kirklees, reaching approximately 1,348 people – surpassing the project’s target of 1,250.

Nichola Sanderson, senior responsible officer for WY HCP Suicide Prevention Programme and deputy director of nursing at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Trust, said: “This has been a brilliant project to work on – it is great to see State of Mind Sport being able to reach people across West Yorkshire who might not ordinarily talk about mental health or suicide.”

She added: “Suicide prevention is relevant to everyone and the more people who learn the signs to look out for, what to say, and where to direct people towards help, the more lives could potentially be saved.”

Philip Cooper, State of Mind Sport’s co-founder, said: “This contract has been great, to take our training across as many places as possible. The people delivering the sessions all have lived experiences of mental health. Through their lived experience and their link to sport, it provided lots of opportunity to talk about anxiety and low mood. They can talk about loss and defeat and dealing with anxiety before they go out onto the pitch; there are lots of ways to introduce a whole host of mental health issues using sport analogies.”