Mental Health and Well Being in Sport

Positive engagement with sport is associated with an array of physical, emotional and psychosocial health benefits. Furthermore, sport can provide an ideal context within which to locate interventions designed to enhance personal wellbeing and psychological health.

Wellbeing in Sport Action Plan 2018-2023

Emerging evidence suggests that competitive sport, by its nature, can also paradoxically contribute to poor mental health and lead to specific stressors that adversely impact on athletes’ psychological health.

In January 2016, the Department encouraged a range of key stakeholders, facilitated by Sport Northern Ireland, to come together to discuss mental and emotional health and wellbeing in sport across Northern Ireland. After a series of meetings and consultations with the sector it was agreed that a Mental Health and Wellbeing in Sport sectoral action plan should be developed to provide direction, focus efforts and create a framework for investment in mental health and wellbeing in sport. The meetings and consultations subsequently resulted in a Strategy Group being formed to lead the development of this Plan.

The Strategy Group were determined to see more mental health and wellbeing support for those engaged in sport, at both a grassroots and competitive level and this determination is shared by those who were consulted in the development of the Action Plan. Furthermore the group was interested in framing actions that would remove the barriers and stigmas associated with mental health issues and to encourage an environment within sport that promotes the awareness of issues and implications, engages in signposting to professional support and cultivates openness and understanding by encouraging individuals that it is ok to talk about mental health.

This new Action Plan sets out a shared vision for how mental health awareness raising and support is crucial to the sustained development of those involved in sport. With the successful delivery of the actions contained within this Plan, a difference can be made to the lives and shared experience of sport in Northern Ireland.

Football club helps shine light on mental health

A north Belfast football club left devastated by the sudden death of a teammate is helping to shine a light on mental health awareness.

Beann Mhadaghain FC has worked to put a lasting legacy in place in memory of talented footballer Francis McStravick.

Members have since rallied together to create the initiative Everglow, which works to promote positive approaches to health and wellbeing, and with the help of local celebrities including boxers Carl Frampton and Ryan Burnett, footballer Joe Gormley and actors Kerri Quinn, Jamie-Lee O'Donnell and Martin McCann a video was produced to help get their message across.

The video is available to watch on the Everglow facebook page.

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