Keele degree leads to Daniel working with Premier League stars
A former professional basketball player is now helping Premier League footballers to improve their mental health and wellbeing after graduating with a Master's from Keele University.
Daniel Belgrave has played basketball in England, Ireland, Germany and the United States, but always knew he had a passion for helping others and working with young people.
After finishing his Counselling and Psychotherapy Master’s degree at Keele, Daniel set up his own company, Belgrave Mind LTD, which already lists Chelsea Football Club among a fast-growing set of clients, alongside schools, youth projects, local councils and NHS services.
Daniel, aged 36, received his Master’s today as part of Keele’s winter graduation ceremonies.
He said: "To be honest, I wasn’t expecting it to blow up like it has done. The reaction has been incredible, to the point where my mum now helps me with replying to emails and managing my appointments!
"I was asked to visit Chelsea to deliver a high impact session on strategies to improve mental health and wellbeing amongst professionals in the workplace, which was an incredible moment for me. It went so well, that it is at the point now where it has been extended to youth and first team players, and a couple of other Premier League clubs have been in touch about doing it for them.
"I knew when I was about 17 or 18 that I wanted to help others and work with young people, and I volunteered to work in a youth centre. Away from basketball, every job I have ever done has pretty much involved working with young people in some way, shape or form, from being a youth worker, to a mentor and working with gangs. I think it's just something I am naturally good at, and it never feels like work to me."
Daniel graduated with an undergraduate degree in social welfare from Worcester University in 2014, as part of a basketball scholarship. And now working as a black therapist in a predominantly white industry, the father-of-one believes he can help black men and women access mental health support in a more relatable way, and hopes to inspire others to follow his career path. Government data from 2022 showed black people are five times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act compared to their white counterparts.
Daniel, who is from Birmingham, said: "I think therapy is stereotypically seen as a middle-class thing to do, and whenever there is a therapist on a TV programme or in a film, it is usually done by a white person in a suit. My identity as a black therapist has allowed me to bridge the gap within a predominantly white industry.
"I wanted to be the change and be there if any young black boys and girls need to speak to somebody. I’m someone who looks like them, speaks like them and can see and understand what they’re going through. Sometimes when I speak to them, they don't believe I'm a therapist, because I don’t fit the picture in their mind of how I should talk and what I should look like. I just try to be the type of person that I would have benefited from being able to speak to when I was growing up."
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