Support line
Urgent help Donate

Football as a safe place from social anxiety

Steve Fletcher, originally from Yorkshire but now based in Hamble-le-Rice, credits football as one of the places that allows him to be free of the social anxiety he feels in a lot of other situations.

Football can represent a safe place for many people, even those with social anxiety despite the huge crowds.

Steve Fletcher, originally from Yorkshire but now based in Hamble-le-Rice, credits football as one of the places that allows him to be free of the social anxiety he feels in a lot of other situations.

Steve explains: “I’ve really missed football. That feeling you get, that excitement, where you are walking through the concourse to see the pitch for the first time and it builds up. That’s what I’ve missed the most. I suffer badly with social anxiety, but football and going to games has always represented a safe place for me.

“At the same time there is going to be a lot of worry around catching COVID, being around crowds of people, using one way systems, following all the rules. I think that is going to make people nervous about going to games, and might put a lot of people off.”

Steve was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, as well as PTSD & depression, 15 years ago following a career of being a police officer.

“I became a little bit of a recluse, I’ve tried to avoid a lot of social situations. I’ve missed weddings, I’m the one at family parties who turns up to show my face and disappears after a little bit.

“A lot of the time people think I’m being funny, but I’m not. I really struggle to get into that mindset of wanting to be there. I struggle drinking, and letting my hair down fully, in case it all kicks off.”

It isn’t just attending football games that has allowed Steve a safe place, he also founded his own football team where he continues to play and organise sessions for other people.

Solent Sports FC, originally starting just in Hamble, they now have venues across the south from Bournemouth to Chichester to Winchester with 14 groups meeting every including two women’s groups.

Solent Sports FC will be playing United Minds FC on October 8 in Fareham, with money made from the event going to Solent Mind, read here for more information on United Minds and that game: https://www.solentmind.org.uk/...

If you are feeling anxious ahead of the return to football, please read our ‘Back to football: Anxiety toolkit’ here: https://www.solentmind.org.uk/...

Back to all news Become a member