Ahead of the Game

Lets start with the facts*:  
  • 20% of adolescents may experience mental health problems in any given year
  • 50% of mental health problems are established by age 15, and 75% by age 24.
  • 10% of children and young people (aged 5-16) have clinically diagnosable mental problems, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.

They are some scary statistics, aren’t they?  So, what can we do?

We need to remove the stigma around talking about mental health and provide a supportive space for people to talk.  Easier said than done, especially with young people. 

Mental health awareness and resilience is a big part of the work that we do at The Harlequins Foundation.  Ensuring people feel empowered to speak up and ask for help is something we work hard to achieve.

We are proud to deliver a Movember programme – Ahead of the Game (AOTG) that focusses on supporting youth mental health.  The programme has 3 workshops that The Foundation deliver to community rugby clubs designed for parents, coaches and young people.

We recently delivered AOTG to parents and coaches at Old Rutlishians Rugby Club.  We caught up with one of their team about how they found the workshop and the impact they hope it has for the members going forward.

What made you decide to have AOTG delivered in your club?

The club is keen to ensure we tackle the issues that our young players might face on and off the pitch.  We had previously taken part in a workshop with Quins players, where they spoke directly to the young people, which worked really well.  The most recent workshop we have taken part in was directed more toward the parents & coaches – we felt this was important, so they knew how to support and talk about mental health issues.   

What were your biggest takeaways from the session? 

To ensure you give your child the awareness they can ask for help.  Also, to ensure you keep an eye on them even if they don’t say anything. 

 Would you recommend the sessions to another club?

Without hesitation.  Rugby is an important part of these kids’ lives and to get a message directly from the people they trust and often admire is for sure one of the best ways to reach teenagers.  It is a fact that they will listen to peers over parents.

Having an AOTG session delivered at your club is simple, just contact our Wellbeing Manager Hollie and she will be in touch.




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