The Harlequins Foundation Deliver Ahead of the Game

Saturday the 27th of November saw Harlequins face off in an intense fixture against London Irish despite the Arctic-feeling weather. 

But that’s not all: The Harlequins Foundation promoted our programme run in partnership with Movember, Ahead of the Game. November is an important time of year to address mental health as winter starts to creep in, and to reflect this our Wellbeing Manager, Hollie Smith, delivered a tailor-made Ahead of the Game session to coaches from community clubs. The session was designed to encourage them to start the conversation with their players about their wellbeing and mental health, and how to spot the signs of concern in a young person. Two lucky coaches even received signed Harlequins shirts for their clubs.

Hollie also spoke on the pitch at half-time about Ahead of the Game and the importance of addressing mental health in young men. Through Ahead of the Game we seek to teach young boys how to open up about their mental health. Watch below to see a snapshot of what Ahead of the Game looks like:

November’s nearly over – and with it Movember’s yearly campaign to grow a moustache in support of men’s health – but that doesn’t mean that our work is done. Winter is the hardest time of year for many people struggling with their mental health, and it’s important that we continue to care for our loved ones struggling during this time as well as throughout the rest of the year.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated an already worsening mental health crisis, and with mental health services still reeling from both lockdowns and increased demand, it’s more important now than ever that we step up to help take care of anyone struggling with their mental health. Over two thirds of young people reported worsening mental health during the pandemic, and the top killer of young and middle aged men is suicide. Someone you know is certainly struggling with their mental health right now. And with loneliness being a top contributor to declining mental health during lockdowns, just reaching out to someone you care about can mean the world to them. As November draws to a close we at The Harlequins Foundation would like to invite you to consider what you can do to help the people around you – even just asking how someone is really doing can make a difference.

We’ve done a lot this month, but our work isn’t over. We continue to deliver Ahead of the Game sessions to young players in community clubs, giving them the tools they need to talk candidly about mental health with their peers, coaches and parents. The difference that an early intervention like this can make is immense, and it can make the difference between someone reaching out for help or not before it’s too late.

If you are responsible for taking care of young people in any capacity, we strongly encourage you to open up the conversation with them, to remove the stigma around suicide and mental health, and to show them that you are there to support them if they need help.

To find out more or to register your club’s interest in Ahead of the Game, please email complete the form below.  

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