Mark Ward TD and Chris Andrews TD launch Mental Health In Sports survey
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has today launched a Mental Health in Sports Survey, along with spokesperson on Sport, Chris Andrews TD.
The survey invites sports organisations and groups to submit their experiences of early prevention, early intervention and coach education regarding mental health.
Teachta Ward said:
“Having worked for many years in front line mental health and addiction services and volunteered as a coach and mentor on my local soccer and GAA clubs, I have a keen interest in this area.
“Sinn Féin are launching this Mental Health In Sports survey today to inform us on how we can improve mental health awareness and skills for coaches involved with sports clubs across the country. It seeks to outline Sinn Féin’s vision for mental health in sports in Ireland.
“Currently there are 1.7 million people who participate in sports in Ireland in 12,000 different clubs There are 430,000 volunteers involved in these clubs and without these vital volunteers, sports clubs would not exist.
“Participation in sports is well documented to be beneficial for our mental health and overall wellbeing. There is a definite link showing the positive benefits of physical activity on mental health.
“However, athletes of all abilities are not immune to developing a mental illness, nor are they protected from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. These have become more prevalent in modern sports and society in general.
“This survey will inform us to look at the gaps in sports mental health policies; focusing on prevention, early intervention and coach education in current sporting organisations. We want to see Mental Health modules implemented within National Sporting Bodies coach education curriculum.
“Coach-centred interventions workshops could be a vital for positive change for athlete mental health.
“Today I am joined by ex-Irish soccer International Caroline Thorpe, who has played for Arsenal and Leeds, and Sean Kavanagh founder of the Irish Homeless World cup team. Caroline spoke recently about her own journey with mental illness as an elite athlete and Sean has encountered many young people who despite previously being involved in sports fell through the cracks of society."
Left to right: Tom Hynes President of Bohemians Foundation, Chris Andrews TD, Caroline Thorpe former international soccer player, Sean Kavanagh Founder Irish world cup team, Mark Ward TD