Tag: Cardiff City Football Club

Improving physical health

A common refrain amongst mental health nurses is that our knowledge, skills and contributions are poorly understood and undervalued by our physical healthcare nurse colleagues. As a nurse trained in both mental and physical health care fields I have sympathy with this position. But I also wonder if our concern with meeting mental health need has caused us to lose sight of the importance of physical health? I am again reminded of Professor Graham Thornicroft’s recent editorial in the BMJ on the scandal of early death in people with mental illness. Mental health nurses have a real part to play in promoting physical wellbeing and facilitating access to services, in their capacity as direct providers and as coordinators of care. Locally, I see evidence that some are taking this part of their work seriously. I know of mental health nurses who, as part-time MSc students, are motivated to develop smoking cessation programmes in hospitals and to introduce wellbeing screening clinics in the community.

With all this in mind it was interesting to see the most recent issue of the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing carrying a series of papers on this topic. There are contributions on: the work of mental health nurses in primary care; promoting access; attitudes, knowledge and training needs; and the physical activity levels of people with mental ill-health. Worth a read, I think.

Unrelatedly, here in England and Wales we are midway through an extended (bank holiday) weekend. This is all pretty meaningless to those nurses for whom shiftwork goes on as usual. Occupying the privileged position that I do, this afternoon brings not a trip to the office but, instead, the first visit of the new season to the Cardiff City Stadium. There, the newly promoted Bluebirds play their inaugural home game in football’s Premier League. Against Manchester City, it’s going to be tough. But whatever the outcome I know we’ll enjoy the occasion.


Football and mental health

A highlight of last year’s Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research conference in Oxford was Alan Pringle‘s talk on football and mental health. Alan works at Nottingham University, and here’s what his web page has to say:

Alan has worked in the area of using football as a vehicle for mental health promotion and interventions in a number of ways in recent years.

His PhD looked at the impact that actively supporting a club (in this case Mansfield Town FC) could have on the mental health of supporters. He was involved in the development of the “It’s a Goal!” programme. This programme places staff in football stadiums to work primarily with young men in mental health promotion and mental health intervention work. “It’s a Goal!” has run in 16 different professional clubs from large premiership clubs like Manchester United and Stoke City to lower division clubs like Macclesfield Town and Plymouth Argyle.

Alan was involved in developing the Positive Goals football league with Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust. This league for service users involves teams from all over the county coming together to play matches on a monthly basis and each year comprises of between 10 and 12 teams.

Alan is a member of the Football and Mental Health Group for Time-to-Change the national anti-stigma organisation.

Alan’s NPNR talk was excellent, and his research and wider work has clearly made a real difference. If you navigate to his webpage you’ll find references to publications he’s written, too. There’s also the It’s a Goal website, which is full of information.

This leads me nicely to last Tuesday at the Cardiff City Stadium, where along with thousands of others I witnessed the moment of Cardiff City‘s promotion to the top flight of football, securing a place in the Premier League for the coming season. A big deal all round. Here’s a photo, taken just after the game’s end.

Involving People, and watching football

Another started-on-the-train post, the length of which reflects (more or less) the length of my journey home.

Yesterday took in a trip to the Cardiff City Stadium for two, entirely unrelated, happenings. First was the annual event of Involving People, the organisation which works across Wales to promote public and service user participation in health and social care research. I’ve had contact with the Involving People team in connection with COCAPP, and the folk there are really very good. Yesterday’s event was excellent, too, and I learned plenty about public engagement from the earliest generation of research ideas onwards.

Following a short-ish break and a chance to catch up on work emails over a coffee, my return trip to the stadium was to watch Cardiff City put in a rather jittery performance against a visiting Leicester side looking to press their own promotion credentials. An at-the-death goal from the Bluebirds’ Rudy Gestede got the draw. Well done that man.

New year…

Cardiff University Colleges and SchoolsHappy new year. 2013 promises plenty. I’m committed to two externally funded research projects, collaborating with outstanding folk located both in, and out, of Cardiff University. In the fullness of time I’ll perhaps blog about these studies when there’s more to say. I’ll be supervising people working on their doctorates, and as always will be teaching and assessing across the range of academic levels. I’ll be working up grant applications (there’s one in the pot at the moment), writing papers (including the one I’ve mentioned before), and contributing to various types of ethics and scientific review processes. I also have a number of external examining roles to fulfil, at doctoral and pre-registration undergraduate level.

In the year ahead I suspect there will be some interesting organisational changes to adjust to as Cardiff University refashions itself, and as the new College and School structure (which I’ve reproduced to the left of this post, with an added oval to highlight where I work) takes shape. As it happens, the University is making headlines at the moment. Just before the Christmas and New Year break Cardiff’s collaboration with the Open University (and others) to develop ‘MOOCS’ (Massive Open Online Courses) was widely reported. As I understand it, MOOCS are free-to-access courses made available via the web to pretty much anyone with use of a computer and an internet connection. I’m not sure how, if at all, people are able to work towards achieving formal academic awards in this way but I very much like the idea of freely available knowledge. Meanwhile, in this week’s Times Higher Education there’s a report on the new Vice Chancellor’s plans to develop the University’s international presence.

REF 2014In 2013 there’s also the small matter of the Research Excellence Framework (REF). I think the REF (like its predecessor the Research Assessment Exercise, or the RAE) is a flawed process, but it remains a (very) big deal for the UK’s universities. In this cycle, formal submissions will be made at the end of the year. Panel members will then have their work cut out in 2014, reading and assessing the quality of outputs (typically, journal papers), judging the impact of completed research beyond the realms of academia (for example, on policy and practice), and reviewing the institutional environment for research activity. Universities will be ranked on the results, and money will flow (or not). For an ambitious, research-led, Russell Group university like Cardiff this is an exercise of great import. It’s also significant for the professions of nursing and midwifery, which have spent the last decades upping their evidence base. In the last RAE, the outcomes of which were made known at the end of 2008, nursing and midwifery research fared pretty well. Let’s hope this can be sustained.

Outside of work I’ll keep running, hoping to stay injury free. As a meticulous record keeper I track my miles. So far for 2013 it’s 22-and-a-bit, and the aim is to manage 1,000 in total. This I achieved in 2012, and more besides. There’s also an increasingly good chance that this year will see Cardiff City climb out of the Football League Championship. I’m liking this, and it’s something I follow (with season tickets) with one of my boys. And, for those interested in the health and well-being angle of all this, check out the work of Alan Pringle and his colleagues on using football as a means to promote mental health, particularly amongst young men. Alan gave a fantastic talk on this at last year’s Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research conference.

That’ll do for now, I think: enough of the rambling.