Sport and physical activity play an important role in supporting our mental health and wellbeing. Despite this, there is still a stigma surrounding mental health and wellbeing, people experiencing a mental health problem can find it difficult to engage, participate and achieve in sport.
The benefits of sport and physical activity are endless, but how exactly can we support those taking part?
In order to improve the mental health and wellbeing among participants, sportscotland alongside key partners are working to ensure support is available for coaches within the sporting system, to provide them with a better understanding of mental health and ways to hold a mental health conversation with participants.
Mental health and wellbeing e-learning
In partnership with Hampden Sports Clinic, the Scottish FA and Scottish Rugby, sportscotland have released a new e-learning module designed to equip coaches with the knowledge to effectively support participants and their club members.
The e-learning module will help coaches understand what is meant by mental health and wellbeing, the misconceptions surrounding the term and how to identify someone needing support. It will also provide the tools to help a coach feel more confident in holding a conversation about mental health.
Coaches can access the e-learning for free, and it is advised that all coaches go through this to allow them to be more confident and competent in their role.
Head of coach education and development at the Scottish FA, Greig Paterson, said:
“At the Scottish FA, we are passionate about ensuring our coaches are as well-equipped as possible through a wide range of courses and e-learning.
“We believe it is imperative to have this mental health module as part of our offering. It has helped coaches and volunteers in the game gain more understanding about the importance of mental health within our society, especially in football.
“Originally produced by our colleagues from the Hampden Sports Clinic, in conjunction with Breathing Space, it makes perfect sense that we continue to share this excellent course, and our collaboration with sportscotland will allow more people to gain further insights and learnings in this important area.”
Scottish Sports Futures mental health and wellbeing ETC workshop
Through sportscotland’s strategic partnership with Scottish Sports Futures (SSF) and the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), a new mental health and wellbeing workshop is being offered to partners for free, through investment from Active Scotland.
Each interactive three-hour workshop is delivered by experienced SSF staff and will provide both young people (16+) and adults an opportunity to explore mental health and wellbeing in more details within a sporting context. The session will explore the signs and symptoms of someone struggling with poor mental health and provide practical tools to create a safe space in which to have mental health and wellbeing conversations.
Outcomes for the workshop:
- Understand what mental health and wellbeing mean to you
- Discover why mental health and wellbeing is important in sport
- Explain what could impact a young person’s mental health and wellbeing
- Understand how to create a space to enable mental health and wellbeing conversations and the potential barriers.
Partners interested can either book a course for a cohort of coaches, or coaches can sign up individually to a session of their choice. Completing the e-learning is recommended in advance of attending a workshop. Further details can be obtained by emailing email@example.com.
A coach who has already completed the workshop commented: "The ETC Mental Health and Wellbeing module allowed me to reflect as a coach what I can do in my sessions to ensure participants mental health is looked after just as much as their physical health.
“It provided me with extended knowledge around mental health and wellbeing and how it can impact the learners in my sessions, as well giving me practical activities I can incorporate into my sessions.”
Feel Your Personal Best
The support comes off the back of the launch of the Feel Your Personal Best campaign. Launched by sportscotland and SAMH, the campaign aims to share the benefits of sport and physical activity.
Physical activity is central to good mental health, and small changes – like a daily walk with a friend – can be transformational. But with lockdowns, restrictions and worries, making time for our own wellbeing has been harder than ever.
Feel Your Personal Best isn’t about clocking steps, miles or fastest times, it’s about inspiring more people to get moving for their mental health.
Anyone can get involved by using the hashtag #FeelYourPersonalBest on social media to share their experiences of using physical activity to feel better.