Let’s talk about mental health because let’s be real, we don’t talk about it enough. We might be given one week in the year to mark mental health awareness but mental health doesn’t affect someone for just one week; it’s everyday. However, Mental Health Awareness Week is an ideal time for us all to really think about mental health, tackle stigma, and find out how we can create a society that prevents mental health problems from developing and protect our mental well-being as a whole. Now, we might be a business with our objective to get lots of women playing netball in our leagues, because let’s be honest, we don’t want you to go anywhere else and we think we run some pretty amazing leagues. Even so, when Play Netball launched back in 2015, our director Andrew Norton said his mission was always to make sure our leagues had a positive impact on people’s health, fitness and mental well-being, and we think we have kept to his word.

Throughout Mental Health Awareness Week we have been sharing with everyone the benefits netball has towards our mental well-being. This has been through articles, infographics and player’s sharing with us their story. There is one player in particular who reached out to us this week who wanted to share her experiences with mental health and how by playing just 40 minutes of netball each week has provided her with a community that supports and cares for one another.

Hello, I’ve seen your posts about mental health awareness week and I wanted to share my story with you as I genuinely believe playing netball through your leagues has helped more than you can know.

I have played at Farnham since the league began. In that time, I have suffered a stillbirth, become a mother to two living children and lost my own mother. My mental health has suffered greatly. I’ve experienced extreme grief, post partum depression and I’ve even had panic attacks on the side of the court.

But, what has helped me and kept me going is the community I have become a part of at netball (both in my team but also in the league as a whole). It is a community of women coming together to play a game we enjoy and forget about the serious issues going on in our daily lives for 40 minutes a week. But it is also a community of women who support each other with kind words and encouragement, who bring cards and gifts when you’re going through something awful, and who will turn up at your home to help look after your toddlers when you are struggling – these are all experiences I have had because of Play Netball.

I am so grateful that I found netball again and that through it I have found lifelong friends and a support system, without which I think I would have really struggled over what have been some very difficult years for me.

Just wanted to share and say thank you! – Cas Towndrow

So, the next time any of us is playing a game of netball and the game hasn’t gone our way, or we believe the umpires were being unfair with their calls, just remember we play this sport because it makes us feel good and it makes others feel good too. Netball is good for the heart and soul.


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