Meet LIFE United, A Club Raising Awareness Of Men's Mental Health
Meet LIFE United...
LIFE United are a men’s open age football team based in Leeds/Bradford. We compete in a league called Yorkshire Christian Football League and play our games on Saturday mornings. The club was originally set up by Ben Hilton through a few others at Church in Leeds called LIFE Church in the summer of 2019. The hope was that we could attract men of all ages to come down, train and enjoy taking part in the sport we all love. Since our inception, we have seen over 150 players come through our system. Our hopes were to set up this club in an attempt to gather men together to talk about mental health issues that some of us may face. The reason for this is Ben is very passionate about helping others in any way he can and has experienced what life can be like with mental health issues. One of the most important things for this team is making sure people are ok. We take it seriously in order to see an end to what a lot of the statistics and stigmas around mental health amongst men say. We boast a squad development group of multiple coaches with FA badges as well as Mental Health Specialists. We have had players come through our system that has gone on to play for the likes of Silsden AFC, Knaresborough AFC, Ilkley AFC and more. We aim to be a place where people of all abilities, nationalities, ethnicities, religious beliefs. We are open to anyone and every one and want everyone who comes to our sessions to feel at home here. We’ve adopted players from the Bradford AFC Disability team as well as players who have had time away from semi-pro level.
We take mental health seriously as we know, mental health issues amongst men are the single biggest killer for ages under 45. As a club, we hold weekly talks before training to check in with each other and see how we are doing. We keep in touch during the week and have each others back too. The club has not been set up purely for football reasons; it has been set up to help anyone and everyone who may need it. We’ve helped each other move house, we’ve helped each other with job applications, with weekly shops when one of us might be struggling. What we are is a collective group of men who want to see each other succeed in life and get the help we need.
As stated before we hold weekly talks and hang out after training. We also have researched different avenues of help that someone may need if they are struggling with mental health issues. Organisations and charities such as Andy’s Man Club & CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) are great organisations we recommend. Ben also has helped a few people in terms of directing them to receive extra help through doctors and counselling sessions. One of the main things recommended combating against mental health issues is exercise and finding the joy in everyday moments doing something you love. For us that is football. We get the lads together to play & compete, learn & grow.
We always look to partner with different charities and organisations that will look to help our players and their families get the help that they may need. Like I’ve said before ‘Andy’s Man Club’, ‘CALM’ and also ‘MIND’ are great nationwide organisations that look to help people and direct them to that help. We look to advertise them on our social media pages and website. Ben Hilton has decided to run a 10k race to raise money specifically for CALM. He has never run a race of this significance or distance before so for him this is a big deal. He hopes to inspire others to actively tackle and fight against their mental health issues and his aim is for people to not feel ashamed when talking about such things but instead feel inspired to know that there are others out there who can help and want to help.