To mark World Mental Health Day, Everton midfielder Tom Davies met Ryan, a participant on Everton in the Community’s [EitC] Imagine Your Goals programme.
Ryan, 23, suffered with poor mental health after having a heart problem detected aged 18.
He told Tom about his past – and ongoing – issues and detailed how his life has charted an upwards trajectory since joining Imagine Your Goals seven months ago.
The pair struck up an instant rapport, founded on a shared love of football and mutual respect.
WATCH THE VIDEO OF TOM AND RYAN VIA OUR OFFICIAL YOUTUBE CHANNEL OR BY CLICKING THE VIDEO BELOW
EitC’s award-winning Imagine Your Goals initiative employs football as a tool to tackle mental illness. Earlier this year, EitC joined forces with the Blues' Principal Partner, SportPesa, in a partnership that saw them become an Official Partner of the Club’s charitable arm.
It has led to SportPesa providing funding for the Imagine Your Goals programme which, since April 2018, has been funded internally using finite charity resources after being affected by external NHS budget cuts. SportPesa also provides further financial support to EitC's mental health provision via the creation of ‘Goals That Give,’ which sees the firm donate £1,000 for every Everton goal scored at Goodison Park for the entire length of the partnership, dating back to the start of the 2018/19 season.
EitC has been delivering life-changing and life-saving mental health provision across Merseyside for more than 12 years, supporting all members of society, and aims to do even more through The People’s Place.
The purpose-built facility close to Goodison Park will be open to anyone to provide support relating to suicide awareness and prevention, as well as promoting positive mental health.
Liverpool supporter Ryan ignored club loyalties when he was directed to Imagine Your Goals and he told Tom about the “opportunities of a lifetime” the EitC scheme has provided – colourfully detailing a match-winning penalty in Italy and subsequent Duncan Ferguson-esque shirt-twirling celebration.
“I’ve gone from a shy lad who wouldn’t speak to anyone, who was so anxious, to someone who went to Italy and won a big international tournament,” says Ryan.
“Everyone on the programme has different illnesses, we all help each other… we are like brothers.
“I couldn’t thank Everton more for what they have done for me.”
Find out more about The People’s Place at peoplesplace.net
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