How Coaches Can Support World Mental Health Day
by Sport in Mind- www.sportinmind.org
Research shows us that 1 in 4 people in the United Kingdom will be affected by a mental health problem this year. If we take a second to think about it… that means for every Sunday league football match that takes place across the country at least 5 of those players that take to the pitch will be affected by a mental health problem this year… that’s a pretty shocking statistic, isn’t it?
Friday 10 October is World Mental Health Day, a global initiative to raise awareness of mental health problems and help address the associated stigma. Speaking about mental health seems scary to many people, but the reality is mental health problems are part and parcel of everyday life. All of us, at some point in our lives, will be touched either directly or indirectly by mental health problems so it’s important to speak openly about these conditions.
Sport in Mind is the independent Berkshire based mental health sports charity that advises organisations nationally around the delivery of sports sessions for people experiencing mental health problems (community and inpatient services).
In Sport in Mind’s 2014 Sport and Wellbeing Study the majority of mental health service users highlighted that they wanted to engage in sport on a more frequent basis, but needed supported sessions to enable them to participate. 71% said they felt sports clubs and coaches needed enhanced awareness of mental health to enable them to make their sporting experience more pleasurable.
Over the past three years Sport in Mind has worked closely with sports coaches and teachers across 18 different sports and 90% of these have identified that they would like additional training around mental health to gain a greater understanding and to feel more comfortable leading sessions where an athlete might be experiencing a mental health problem, or for groups that are specifically delivered for mental health service users.
Sport in Mind founder, Neil Harris believes that specific mental health training is vital for all sports coaches and teachers to provide them with the knowledge and expertise to enhance participants’ sporting experience.
“Sports coaches and teachers are fantastic at what they do, but providing them with opportunities to expand their knowledge of mental health is something that urgently needs to be addressed. The majority of the coaches I have worked with have highlighted that they have coached athletes or students that have mental health problems, but felt that due to a lack of understanding of mental health they may not have tailored their session to best meet the participant’s needs”.
To address the unmet need of a robust and comprehensive mental health resource for sports coaches, Sport in Mind and sports coach UK are exploring how we can collaborate on the development of mental health training for the coaching workforce.