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Football, Madness and Me

Tue Aug 13, 9-10pm, BBC3

A timely counterpoint to the silliness of £100m transfers, this takes us back to some of the good things about football and its role in the community. With its focus firmly on three young people with varying mental health issues, Kate Taunton’s film looks at the work of the Positive Mental Attitude League, or PMA, a new football league aiming to use football as therapy.

Our hearts can’t help but go out to the film’s subjects: Hayley, a 28-year-old who at the age of eight played for Leyton Orient and even played four times for England before crashing into depression and self-harming in the her teens; Jamal, a 16-year-old paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a secure unit and sometimes believes he’s a professional footballer; and Adam, who has OCD and has to get past his fear of contamination and death to take part in games. Not only does he manage that, but the therapeutic benefits extend to coping better with his fears beyond the pitch.

Will it do the same for Jamal and Hayley? Watch and find out; it’ll almost certainly beat watching overpaid Premier League players in next week’s opening season matches.