Mental Health has always been an important topic for Access Sport, but the increased pressures placed on young people due to the Coronavirus pandemic means the risk of mental health-based exclusion is higher than ever.

‘1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year’

‘More than half of adults (60%) and two-thirds of young people (68%) felt their mental health had got worse during lockdown’

‘In November 2020, more than 40% of people worried about leaving their home to be active’

- Club Matters 2020

Access Sport aims to ensure that nobody is excluded from the transformational benefits of sport. This mission relies on the mental health of club coaches and volunteers, participants, parents, and carers. After the year we’ve just had, we’re not taking anyone’s mental wellbeing for granted.

We believe it’s important to increase the number of clubs that can support good mental health post-lockdown. We are working alongside experts and partners within the sport for development sector to help clubs make good mental wellbeing part of their culture and enable them to support young people experiencing mental health problems.  

There is already an abundance of mental health resources out there, and a wealth of expertise across a network of brilliant mental health organisations. This can all be a bit bewildering, and it’s not easy to work out what’s most relevant or where to start.  We believe we can help make sense of things, make it easier for inclusive community clubs to find useful, relevant content, and set out a framework for supporting young peoples’ mental health and wellbeing at grassroots clubs.

‘In the last three years, the likelihood of young people having a mental health problems has increased by 50%’
- Children Society, 2021

We know mental health is a sensitive subject, especially within the context of youth and inclusive sport. It’s relatively easy to talk a good game, but harder to take meaningful action. That’s why we’re creating a set of checklists and practical toolkits. These should make it easy for clubs to walk the talk. We’ll include mental health action plans that align with the Sport and Recreation Alliance Mental Health Charter as well as information about appointing a Mental Health Champion, someone who can actively lead on the action plan and link into local support networks.

There is also a list of mental health training available for coaches and volunteers, including the UK Coaching Mental Health Awareness Course and the Mental Health First Aid Courses, with further information how to access funding to support volunteers to take part.

Please click on the image to view it as a pdf file:

The checklists and toolkits mentioned above are coming soon. We’re currently gathering feedback from mental health experts including Mind, and members of our inclusion networks who share passion for mental wellbeing in grassroots sport.

If you’d like to be involved in this piece of work, please contact [email protected] or [email protected]. Updates will also be posted on the website here.

Photo by: Sydney Rae via Unsplash