The Importance of Coaching Mental Health

A new online mental health course aimed at enabling coaches to realise their importance in young people’s lives has been released this morning by the GAA, LGFA, and the Camogie Association, in partnership with Jigsaw, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health.

One Good Coach is based on the successful workshop Jigsaw delivers face-to-face across its 12 services. It offers participants a greater understanding of mental health, the importance of their role as a potential One Good Adult® in the lives of young members, and a greater awareness of how to promote and support young people’s mental health.

While designed with coaches in mind, the 40-minute content should prove equally informative to Healthy Club or Children’s Officers, any other club or county volunteers that work with young people, or even interested parents or young people themselves.

Back in 2014, Dublin Footballer Shane sought professional help to deal with his depression. His then Under 21 coach Dessie Farrell was one of the first people he turned to for guidance and support. Carthy is now an ambassador for the programme.

“A weight fell off my shoulders instantly. I could finally focus on my treatment and overcoming the adversity I had experienced for too long,” he said.

“It is widely known the considerable impact of sport on the mental health of the general population, young people included.”

“This finding was recently endorsed in the My World Survey 2, the largest and most comprehensive study of youth mental health in the country. In this study, published in 2019, young people identified Sport as a top coping mechanism. But there’s more to it than the sport – there are multi-layers of influence within the club context that can also promote young people’s mental health, which can often be underplayed.”

“Sports clubs are ideal settings for youth mental health promotion given the well-established health benefits, the large participation base, and extended access to children and adolescents during sports participation,” added Taragh McGovern, Youth Mental Health Promotion Manager with Jigsaw.

“Additionally, coaches are in an ideal position to promote and support young people’s mental health due to the contact time and nature of the coach-athlete relationship.”

“The value of this relationship has been documented in the literature – we know that the presence of a trusted adult in a young person’s life is linked to better mental health (MWS 2019, 2012). For many young people, this adult is their coach.”

“The aim of this course is to increase the mental health literacy of coaches and club members in the Gaelic Games Community so that they feel more confident to promote and support young people’s mental health within the breadth of their coaching role.”

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“Fair play you are doing a brilliant job of keeping us all informed and motivated”

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