The Athletic Club Foundation, in collaboration with the Osakidetza’s (Basque Health Service) Mental Health Network in Biscay (RSMB), held the fifth edition of Futbola Buruan last Friday. This sports day, suspended the last two years due to the pandemic, is the final touch to a season marked by the Euskadi’s Geurea League, a competition celebrating that this year celebrates its 25th anniversary.
As in previous editions, Fundazioa chose Lezama as the place to host the event, with more than 450 people (users and professionals) attending from Bizkaia’s Mental Health Network and Araba’s Mental Health Network on behalf of Osakidetza, as well as Avifes, Argia, Eragintza, Asasam and the San Juan de Dios Hospital.
The pandemic’s negative effect on mental health makes it necessary to redouble efforts in the fight against social stigmatisation. For this reason, the Athletic Club Foundation’s partnership with Osakidetza is closer than ever.
It is not only about the general benefits attributed to the practice of sport (combating metabolic syndrome, gaining healthy habits and improving physical fitness), but group sport is a supportive intervention in the recovery process for people with mental health problems. It contributes to the development of people’s life projects while it also helps to combat loneliness and fight against stigma.
Sport as a tool to help people and Athletic as an instrument for inclusion
As Aurori Oña, Nursing Supervisor for the RSMB-Osakidetza community area, points out: “The Foundation provides a benefit which even more relevant than sport itself, and that is Athletic’s capacity to be a driving force for inclusion and normalisation.
“In this sense, Athletic makes the illness visible, combats misinformation, eliminates social stigma, provides a group identity and works as a medicine against apathy, the loss of enthusiasm that people with mental illness have, and gives them a boost of motivation to achieve certain things that otherwise they would not have been able to achieve.”
In 17 centres across the region, the Foundation’s coaches not only lead football training sessions, but also oversee multi-sport sessions, with more aerobic and cognitive exercises. Therefore, the fifth edition of Futbola Buruan was not limited to a football tournament, but also included multi-sport sessions.
This day served as a meeting point, outside the scope of care giving, for people with mental illness and professionals, where everyone participated, collaborating and teaming up in both activities.
Since the Geurea League started, gender equality has played a prominent role, with teams being mixed. The incorporation of multi-sport has seen a notable increase in the involvement of women, one of RSMB’s objectives in relation to gender equality.
At the end of a very hot day, the Foundation organised some food and drinks for the participants with the aim of further promoting social interaction. In general, we are devoted to enhancing social interaction among and with vulnerable groups, as we believe it is extremely important for society at large.