Date: 4 March 2017
Originally published in: Hertfordshire Mercury (UK)
Written by: Elliot Spurgeon
Former football manager, Martin Ling, gave a speech at the opening of a wellbeing centre in Letchworth GC last week. Jointly run by Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT) and Herts Mind Network, the wellbeing centre is one of the first of its kind and was launched last Friday (February 24). The centre will specialise in delivering joined-up care for the local community and creating great outcomes for service users and carers alike.
The launch was attended by nearly 100 people, including Martin Ling, who once managed Swindon Town, and 80s pop star Kim Wilde. Ling spoke candidly about his struggle with mental illness and his journey to recovery is still ongoing but he believes he can help spread awareness and encourage people to speak out, “I’ve played in front of 80 000 people at Wembley, but getting treatment for mental health was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” he said. “I don’t know a lot about football or mental health, but I know a little, and if people listen to me because of my playing career then I’m happy and will feel like I’ve made a difference.”
The launch of the centre followed a three-year development, chief executive of Herts Mind Network, Julie Nicholson was looking to start a peer support project and HPFT agreed to fund it, if a building could be located. Chief executive of HPFT, Tom Cahill said: “The trust is proud to work in joint partnership with mind, both partners will work together in providing joined-up care for the local community.” He added: “The fact the building is on the high street in the centre of town is a testament to how far we have come.”
The centre will offer a variety of different services including peer-to-peer support, confidence-building classes and courses in recovery from anxiety and depression.