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‘RUN FREE’ TACKLING MENTAL HEALTH STIGMA

14 May 2021

Run Free are using the power of football to help tackle the stigma surrounding mental health.

The group – which has a strong Southend United connection – meet every other Friday for training sessions at Garon Park.

And co-founders Eddy Cooper and Echosport’s Blues reporter Chris Phillips are keen to recruit even more members.

"We’ve been going about a year now and it’s fantastic to have established such a great group of people but we always welcome new people," said Eddy.

"The group is open to anyone who has been affected by mental health issues and it’s a great way of clearing your head.

"It’s all for fun and nothing is taken too seriously so there’s no need to worry about how good you are.

"We’ve played a couple of matches lately which have gone well and we’re hosting our own tournament in June which we’re really looking forward to as well.”

Run Free have already had coaching sessions from a number of former Blues favourites including Steve Tilson, Mark Phillips and Michael Timlin as well as current first team coach Craig Fagan.

The group, which has links to SECE Mind, also has its own podcast and have recorded episodes with a number of top sporting stars including Kelly Holmes and Colin Jackson.

"It’s gone better than we could’ve imagined so far but we want to keep making everything even better," said Chris.

"With it being Mental Health Awareness Week it’s the perfect time to spread the word about what we do and how much exercise can help clear your mind.

"There’s no shame in having struggled and we’re always keen to get that across.

"It’s great to see attitudes are slowly changing and we want to do what we can to make sure that continues so people no longer suffer alone or in silence."

For more details on Run Free visit runfreeofficial.co.uk, see @runfreeofficial on Twitter or email officialrunfree@gmail.com.


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