As part of Children’s Mental Health Week, 20 students from Hurstmere School in Sidcup took a trip to The Valley as part of the Premier League Inspires programme, meeting Charlton Women’s midfielder Freya Godfrey to discuss the importance of mental health.
Premier League Inspires is a personal development programme which uses the power of football to inspire young people aged 11-18 at risk of not reaching their potential, to develop the personal skills and positive attitudes needed to succeed in life.
The Hurstmere students took part in a mental health workshop delivered by CACT staff members discussing the signs of poor mental health and good mental health.
In groups, they came up with ideas on what they can do to raise awareness for mental health and signpost people to get the help they need.
After the event, a group of students will start working together on their own social action plan and propose their strategy for raising awareness for young people’s mental health, supporting the Premier League’s Inside Matters mental health campaign.
Then the group were lucky enough to get a private tour of The Valley exploring the home and away changing rooms as well as heading out pitch side.
Godfrey stopped by to join the students for a Q&A session all about her footballing career and how she looks after her mental health.
The 18-year-old opened up about how she has struggled with her own mental health as a young footballer:
“When I was younger I went through some struggles. I was dropped from England which I think was quite tough but it was from my own attitude which I think was tough for me to overcome.”
Godfrey went on to discuss what her coping strategies for dealing with mental health are:
“I think I have a good support base I have a lot of people around me, my family, my close friends who help me who I can lean on and who can lean on me which I think is good, it’s very healthy. If I ever go through something like that again, then I know who I can go to and I know that they’ll always be there for me.”
She went on to address why it’s important to talk to young people about mental health:
“From a young age you need to start being aware of signs and signs in your mates. Making sure that people can get the best help as soon as possible, it doesn’t just affect adults so I think making children aware of that is really important.”