Harlequins has today (Friday 3rd June) become the first professional rugby union club to sign the mental health charter for sport and recreation as the Harlequins Foundation launches its flagship mental health campaign, METTLE.
Mental health affects one in four people in the UK and through the METTLE campaign, the Harlequins Foundation will raise awareness of mental health issues, build the mental resilience of young people in the community, equip coaches to deal with mental health and well-being, and support the wellness of its staff and players.
METTLE will educate children and young people to deal with stressful and challenging times and situations. An innovative mental resilience programme will be trialled in local primary schools from September 2016, before being rolled out in January 2017.
The Foundation is also hoping to develop a second pilot for 18-25 year olds in partnership with Richmond Borough MIND and South West London NHS Mental Health Trust, as part of Premiership Rugby’s new programme funded by Comic Relief.
By signing the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation, Harlequins and the Harlequins Foundation joins sporting bodies such as the RFU, the FA, the LTA, the RPA and the English Institute of Sport. The charter has five actions, which the Harlequins Foundation has committed to fulfilling.
Harlequins has pledged to:
- Use the power of sport to promote well-being
- Promote positive public health messaging through diverse role models
- Tackle discrimination
- Support a pan-sport platform to share networks, resources and best practice
- Monitor performance and assess progress
Commenting on the news Harlequins Foundation Ambassador Ugo Monye said: “Mental health is an ever growing issue for young people in the UK. We are excited to be launching METTLE, the new mental health campaign, which over the coming years will be the cornerstone of the Harlequins Foundation’s activity and partnerships.”
Val Farmer, Chief Executive of Richmond Borough MIND added: “Every year, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem and yet mental health is still something we find very difficult to talk about. If we can support young people at an early stage, we can help prevent the more severe problems adults experience. Sport is the perfect arena to tackle this stigma and we are delighted that Harlequins are taking this initiative and using their skills to support local communities through sport and coaching.”