Health and Wellbeing

How Dodgeball helped us raise awareness of Eating Disorders

Will Brown tells us more about Eating Disorder Awareness Week and the success of Cardiff Unis Dodgeball Tournament …



First a Football tournament and now Dodgeball

I am two-thirds of the way through my Psychology placement with the Counselling, Health and Wellbeing service. Time is truly flying by. It doesn’t seem too long ago that I worked alongside Student Minds Cardiff to host the ‘On Your Head Son’ football tournament for male mental health awareness. The success of the event naturally led to further meetings to discuss further ways we could raise mental health awareness within the student community. Productive discussions led to organising a mixed gender dodgeball tournament that coincided with Student Minds’ Eating Disorder Awareness Week. 


Many people are mistaken when they believe that eating disorders are a ‘female’ issue

Raising awareness of such a serious topic was a natural choice as 1.6 million people in the UK have been suggested to be affected by an eating disorder (National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence). Many people are mistaken when they believe that eating disorders are a ‘female’ issue. The NHS information centre has released findings showing that up to 6.4% of adults display signs of an eating disorder, with 25% of the adults being male (Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, 2007). These statistics remind us that whilst eating disorders may be statistically rare, they can affect any individual regardless of gender.


Humans’ vulnerability to mental health issues and eating disorders means that help must always be accessible

Counselling, Health and Wellbeing and Student Minds offer many workshops and talks to aid those who may have a friend with an eating disorder or experiencing one themselves. However, highlighting the severity and impact of eating disorders to those within the student community who are less likely to attend such events, is another challenge all together. Organising sporting events where many people can take part, have fun and also learn something is consistently affective for conveying important messages that people can find difficult to listen to.


As you can see by the video from Cardiff UnionTV, it seems we were successful once again!

Cardiff Union TV filmed the event … “We went along to the dodgeball competition organised by Student Minds Cardiff that raised awareness for Eating Disorders Week. Remember that ‘if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!” Watch the video


Huge enthusiasm from all who took part

The tournament took place in the Great Hall of the Student Union, all of the players arrived showing huge enthusiasm for the matches to get underway. Everyone maintained their gung-ho spirit throughout the proceedings, both on the court and when spectating in the stand. No one held back and I witnessed some fantastic pieces of play from every team, whilst finding it very difficult as a referee, not to burst out laughing whenever someone fell over or was smacked by a ball.


All Dodge No Balls

Despite all of the players wielding bags of quality along with many teams taking points off each other, ‘The Fellowship’ and ‘All Dodge No Balls’ their way through the semis and into the final. The final was a tense affair in front of a rapturous audience, however the sheer power and athleticism of ‘The Fellowship’ was the difference, as they were crowned worthy winners.


A huge thanks to all the staff and volunteers involved

Alongside the intense ball pelting, a drinks and snacks stand was set up for all resting players to re-fuel and have the opportunity to chat with Counselling, Health and Wellbeing staff and Student Minds volunteers. Our staff members received lots of positive feedback from the players with several stating that they would attend a similar event again in the future.


Being involved with projects such as these is what has made my placement with Counselling, Health and Wellbeing worthwhile

Overall, the tournament went very smoothly and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I am certain that our service and Student Minds Cardiff will team up again for another event in the future. The two that I have worked on this academic year have both been hugely successful and have effectively spread important messages. We are now entering March (what?!), which means that the end of my placement is getting closer and closer. From now until then, I shall proceed with an ongoing eating disorders research project with the aim of enhancing the service’s eating disorder treatment and therapy. Being involved with projects such as these is what has made my placement with Counselling, Health and Wellbeing worthwhile. Our therapeutic methods are developing, but so is our approachability. Removing the stigma behind mental health by raising awareness allows for therapy to be put into practice as people become more confident in confronting their issues. Long may it continue.


Best wishes
Student Intern, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing 

Will M

Will sporting the November tash – a haunting reminder of more great work from Will!!!

Your Student Life, Supported
Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, The Student Support Centre, 50 Park Place, Student High Street



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