Football metaphor and mental well-being: An evaluation of the It's a Goal! programme

Spandler, Helen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0970-5141, Mckeown, Michael orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0235-1923, Roy, Alastair Neil orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4807-7352 and Hurley, Margaret (2013) Football metaphor and mental well-being: An evaluation of the It's a Goal! programme. Journal of Mental Health . pp. 1-11. ISSN 0963-8237

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Background: The It’s a Goal! programme utilises football metaphor and football venues as a means to
frame and deliver a non-clinical, group-based therapeutic intervention, targeting men with mental
health needs. A pilot in the North West of England was hosted by seven professional football clubs
in partnership with local Primary Care Trusts.
Aims: To evaluate the impact of the intervention and to identify the benefits and key components of the
approach from the perspective of participants.
Method: Analysis of impact utilised before and after well-being scores measured on a modified version
of theWarwick-Edinburgh MentalWell-being Scale. Focus groups provided additional qualitative data
that were analysed thematically.
Results: Findings suggest that It’s a Goal! had a significant impact upon participant’s well-being. In
addition, participants reported a range of positive benefits especially in relation to confidence, selfesteem
and developing better coping mechanisms. Participants related these benefits to a number of
key components, not least the therapeutic value of football metaphor, the focus on goal-setting and
the mutual support developed within the groups.
Conclusions: Using football metaphor to deliver a group therapeutic programme aimed at men appears
to be an effective means of facilitating mental health benefits.

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