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Schmidt And Kavanagh Back ‘Sport Your Mind’ Seminars

Schmidt And Kavanagh Back ‘Sport Your Mind’ Seminars

Launching a series of youth mental health seminars for rugby clubs in the midlands, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt welcomed the opportunity being given to coaches, trainers and parents to gain a better understanding of the issues involved in youth mental health enabling them to encourage positive mental health in young people.

“Players train two or three times a week in an effort to improve their physical ability but the ‘Sport Your Mind’ events encourages youngsters to understand that their mental health needs a work out from time to time as well,” said Joe Schmidt.

“It’s great that midlands rugby clubs are hosting the delivery of these events by HSE Midlands Health Promotion & Improvement.

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“I commend the clubs and officials participating in the programme. Collectively, they are helping to build awareness that we can all play a part in supporting the positive mental health of young people.”

‘Sport your Mind’ introduces basic, foundational information on Youth Mental Health, suitable for community-active sports settings, highlighting early warning signs of mental health difficulties among young people and the range of support services available to young people in need of additional support.

The series of ‘Sport Your Mind’ events commenced last week in Longford and continues in Mullingar this evening. There will also be seminars in Birr (October 2), Edenderry (October 7) and Tullamore (October 9).

‘Sport Your Mind’ also includes the provision of youth support cards, a multimedia video clip for young people highlighting key messages underpinning positive mental health and an ‘Improve Your Mood With Food’ diet hheet created by a HSE senior community dietician for Dublin Mid-Leinster.

‘Sport your Mind’ also includes the delivery of SafeTALK (Suicide Alertness for Everyone) – an internationally recognised workshop for communities to help prepare participants to identify people with thoughts of suicide and connect them to suicide first aid resources.

Anthony O’Prey, Health Promotion Officer, Offaly Local Development Company/HSE, said: “All our awareness and skills training programmes, delivered free of charge, across the midlands, increase an understanding of positive mental health and suicide prevention as well as help people develop the capacity to give safeguarding support to people when difficulties arise.

“Many sports organisations like the GAA and Leinster Rugby recognise the potential they have to offer this support and this is why we welcome and support these organisations to build healthier, more resilient, suicide safe communities.”

Ireland Women’s international Niamh Kavanagh, who is supporting the ‘Sport Your Mind’ initiative added: “It is very important to be active and play a sport you enjoy. There are many highs and lows in sport and rugby is no different.

“Missing out in playing in the recent Women’s Rugby World Cup due to injury has been hugely difficult for me but no matter what, I am still a part of the team. Win, lose or draw, as a team we are one and support each other through those sporting experiences.

“In life we can support each other through difficult times. A team sport is an ideal environment for young people to develop the skills and resilience to deal with those highs and lows, which are a normal part of life.”

The relationship between the Midlands Branch of Leinster Rugby and the HSE Midlands Health Promotion was initiated with the launch of ‘Sport Your Mind’ at the Offaly Mental Health TALK Week 2013.

Approximately 45 adults and 66 young people from both Tullamore RFC and Birr RFC have participated in the programme to date.

For further information on the talks, please contact Chris Glennon at 086 8122825 or Robert McDermott at 087 2555251.


Mullingar RFC, Tuesday, September 30, 7pm
Birr RFC, Thursday, October 2, 7pm
Edenderry RFC, Tuesday, October 7, 7pm
Tullamore RFC, Thursday, October 9, 7pm