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A sporting chance saved Burnley man's life
A DAD-of two who spiralled into hooliganism and depression has told of how he transformed his life thanks to a sports-based programme.
Steve Dickinson, 38, from Rosegrove, Burnley, said he was almost driven to suicide by the breakdown of his relationship with his partner.
But he was later diagnosed with a bipolar disorder and brought back from the brink.
Sunday is World Mental Health Day and Steve now helps publicise the ‘It’s a Goal!’ course, which he says ‘saved his life’.
The course is based at Turf Moor and is supported by NHS East Lancashire and Burnley FC.
It teaches skills in motivation, assertiveness and communication, using the sport as the motivator.
Steve said: “Growing up, I didn’t seem to enjoy anything and I felt I never fit in.” He turned to drink and drugs as a teenager and went from a promising young footballer on Burnley’s books, to a hooligan.
After getting medication and seeing specialists in his 20s, Steve was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a form of depression which makes a person have extremely high energy levels, followed by extreme lows.
Then his relationship hit the rocks, causing Steve’s bipolar to worsen, and he was told he may need Lithium, a mood stabilising drug.
He said: “I felt like just ending my life. It all came to a head.”
It was during this difficult time, that Steve was referred to ‘It’s a Goal!’
He said: “The course literally changed my life. It gave me structure, taught me everything from how to cope with my condition, to how to manage my bills.
"Occasionally players would come and give motivational talks.
“As a lifelong supporter, this was a huge bonus. But most importantly, I met other men just like me, who had various forms of depression.”
Bringing up his two daughters, Charlotte, 14, and Hope, nine, on his own, Steve completed the 12-week course for men aged 16-35 and now volunteers for it.
Mark Hill, a Primary Care mental health worker and coach for ‘It’s a Goal’ said: “Steve has progressed enormously.
"He has really turned his life around.”
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