Rugby Players Ireland and Zurich have launched a new Tackle Your Feelings Schools mental wellbeing pilot programme and App as part of the second phase of the #ImTakingControl campaign.

The aim of the campaign is to promote a proactive attitude towards mental health and to provide people with the tools to ‘Take Control’ of their mental wellbeing using principles from both sport and positive psychology.

The Tackle Your Feelings Schools pilot programme is classroom-based, with designated wellbeing classes running in the last term of the 2020 academic year.

The programme is aimed at Transition Year students or their equivalent in Northern Ireland who are about to embark on their next steps into the senior cycle of their secondary education.

Multiple schools across the island of Ireland have been recruited to pilot the programme and their students will work to develop coping skills and enhance their support networks, putting them in the best position to ‘Take Control’ of their mental wellbeing.

The programme is designed to instil a positive approach to mental health and wellbeing among young people, reducing stigma around mental health and encouraging the development of positive wellbeing habits which they can bring into adulthood.

Recent research, commissioned by Zurich and Rugby Players Ireland and conducted by iReach with parents across the island of Ireland revealed:

  • One in five parents don’t believe their child understands the importance of mental wellbeing
  • 68% of parents agreed that schools prioritise their child’s physical health over their mental health
  • One in four children have missed school due to issues around their mental wellbeing
  • 86% of parents believe more needs to be done in school to help their child take control of their mental wellbeing
  • 84% of parents agree that seeing role models like rugby players ‘taking control’ of their mental wellbeing empowers their child to start talking
  • 68% of parents believe their child will be more likely to discuss the topic of mental wellbeing with their friends if they download the Tackle Your Feelings App and complete the programme

The Tackle Your Feelings Schools App has been designed to work as part of a classroom programme with students guided through relevant resources, completing exercises which enhance their awareness and knowledge of relevant mental wellbeing topics.

The App has been designed in a linear format with each resource building from the previous one, once a resource is complete, the next will unlock. There are also some unique features within the app like player videos and a custom-designed game.

“I’m thrilled to be an ambassador for the Tackle Your Feelings Schools pilot programme and App and to tell my own story of how going through personal loss when I was in school has helped shape who I am today, as a rugby player, teacher and friend,” said ambassador and Munster and Ireland Rugby international Eimear Considine.

“As a secondary school teacher, I can really see how students would benefit from a programme like Tackle Your Feelings. It is important for students to acknowledge when they’re feeling down and not let those feelings consume them. Talking to friends and family is not a weakness, it just makes them aware of how you’re feeling and being in a good place mentally and emotionally enables you to excel in all aspects of life.”

“The research shows that seeing role models like rugby players ‘taking control’ of their mental wellbeing empowers all of us to start talking, across schools and wider society.,” added Anthony Brennan, CEO of Zurich Ireland.

“We believe the new schools pilot programme and App will encourage students to be more proactive when it comes to minding their own mental health and wellbeing and help to incorporate mental wellbeing into their daily routine.”

Since its launch in 2016, Tackle Your Feelings has impacted the lives of people all over the world, with campaign content being viewed in excess of 23 million times through the Rugby Players Ireland initiatives here as well as through the English Rugby Players’ Association (RPA), ‘Lift the Weight’ campaign, New Zealand Rugby’s ‘HeadFirst’ campaign and Tackle Your Feelings Australia, a collaboration between Zurich Australia, the AFLPA and AFLCA.

“This pilot programme aims to break down stigma and encourage students to become more proactive about looking after their mental wellbeing,” said Hannah McCormack, Tackle Your Feelings Account Manager at Zurich Ireland.

“It is great to be working with an ambassador like Eimear Considine who, as a teacher, understands how this programme is necessary in today’s classroom, and as a rugby player has the power to inspire young people and help to destigmatise mental wellbeing.”

“There is also a chance for parents to become part of the TYF community and keep up to date on the latest Tackle Your Feelings news by downloading the App and following Tackle Your Feelings on Instagram.”

We will shortly be announcing details of the 2020 Sport for Social Good Conference and Report taking place later in the year.

Image Credit: Dan Sheridan,