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Tackle depression 'by taking to the pitch'

8th January 2007

People suffering from mental health problems are being taken out of the therapists chair and onto the football pitch as part of the latest treatment for depression and schizophrenia.

According to media reports, Italian psychiatrist Mauro Raffaeli is enlisting his patients – many of whom on medication and are unable to work – in a football team.

Mr Raffaeli told the Guardian over half of the 80 who have joined the team since 1993 have cut their drug intake and returned to work.

"Drugs you can often never get rid of, but reintegrating into society is as important," he said.

A separate study at the University of Derby has found that some people can overcome their depression by taking to the dance-floor with a saucy salsa.

"It's been documented that exercise can help mental health sufferers in their fight against depression," said Matt Birks, senior mental health lecturer at the university.

"With the physical benefits of salsa, together with the social interaction and the need for full concentration during a session, I believe salsa dancing could have health benefits for depressed patients."