Football Therapy (c) Thea Graham
Football Therapy (c) Thea Graham

A group set up in order to give the people of Merseyside the opportunity to better their mental health has been described as a “life-saver”.

Colin Dolan set up Football Therapy, affectionately known as ‘Footie Therapy’, in 2019 after a tough period battling with mental health.

He explained: “I’m bipolar myself, I’ve struggled with my mental health for almost 40 years and after a bad spell, where I was hospitalised, I was recommended to join an Everton community team called Imagine Your Goals.

“It saved my life.”

He was frustrated by the fact a diagnosis was required for teams like this, so he decided to take matters into his own hands and make this process quicker by taking away the diagnosis requirement.

Footie therapy has gained upwards of 150 participants since 2019 of all different walks of life, some suffer from depression, bipolar disorder and even homelessness.

Colin said: “It ranges from a bit of social anxiety to suicidal tendencies.”

There are now two sessions a week as one wasn’t enough.

Colin described what makes coaching at football therapy rewarding.

He said: “For me I’m inspired every single day I come, it doesn’t matter what some of these guys have gone through, they still manage to get out of their bed and come and kick a ball.

“When I hear them talking at the side of the pitch about their issues and the support they get from each other, that fills me with so much joy.”

Football therapy was set up with just £500 left over from a football trip which Colin led, and they have flourished ever since. It costs just £3 to come along to the sessions, which are held at ‘Goals’.

“You don’t need diagnosis, you don’t need a referral, just come along and kick a ball.”

Watch Thea Graham’s video report here:

Featured image (c) Thea Graham


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