As part of its Spirit of Rugby Programme, the IRFU reviewed the mental health resources for the club game. A positive response to the ‘One Good Coach’ module, provided in conjunction with Jigsaw, highlighted the need to provide additional information across the game.
Rugby aids the promotion of positive mental health, and rugby activities, on and off the pitch, provided in a safe, fun, kind environment, are of benefit to all members.
Good mental health is not the responsibility of any one person in the club. We all have a role to play to promoting the positive messages of well-being among club-mates.
No matter your age, your role in the club and/or your preference for playing, coaching, refereeing or volunteering at any level, we all have times when we are not feeling our best and we rely on the support of club-mates.
The IRFU encourages clubs to make sure they provide the environment where people feel they belong and can experience lifelong involvement in the rugby community.
The IRFU have created several resources to support all members, to provide the right environment, because we know clubs are places people join to feel welcomed, engaged, and supported.
The purpose of the ‘Club Toolkit’ is to engage people in conversations around mental health, so that all members understand how they contribute to the culture and to have a better understanding of mental well-being.
It is not about training members to be a counsellor or therapist, but rather knowing how to start a conversation about mental health.
However, where necessary to signpost to professional help, organisations are listed on a ‘Contacts’ factsheet, and advice outlined in a ‘Critical Incident Document’. Posters are also available to all clubs.
These resources will be supplied to clubs, so they can provide a positive mental well-being environment for all its members.
The resources also outline how to take care of your own personal mental health and how to recognise and respond appropriately if a club mate has mental ill-health.
The IRFU will also provide additional information in the form of an online training module so that clubs can widely distribute the information to its members.
The IRFU takes a player-centred approach to rugby, putting player welfare at the centre of all we do.
Anne Marie Hughes, the IRFU’s Head of Equity, Diversity & Inclusivity, said:
How we deal with each other within the club environment is as important as what we do on the pitch. By taking a player-centred approach to all aspects of the game, we promote respect and inclusivity, two important values of our game.
“We hope these resources will assist clubs in providing a nurturing environment where all members can flourish.”