The Harlequins Foundation has marked World Mental Health Day (Monday 10th October) with the launch of the METTLE mental resilience schools programme.
The programme, which is supported by Harlequins Business Partner, and leading law firm, Blake Morgan, aims to develop the mental resilience of Year 6 (ten-11year old) pupils through a practical, fun and interactive eight-week programme.
It draws on Harlequins’ experience on and off the pitch and is being delivered by trained coaches, supported by Harlequins players.
Each of the eight modules teaches a key aspect of mental resilience – including Growth mindset, My strengths, Managing emotions, Positive connections, and Goal setting – which together will create a practical and meaningful ‘Resilience Tool-Box’ which young people can draw upon at times of challenge, change or difficulty.
Each module will be brought to life through interviews with the players talking about their experience of dealing with pressure, stress and fulfilling their potential.
The METTLE mental resilience schools programme will be piloted from this month, with more than 160 pupils in four local primary schools.
The Harlequins Foundation will then roll the programme out in 2017 across primary and secondary schools, and other organisations that work with disadvantaged and vulnerable young people.
At the beginning of June, Harlequins became the first professional rugby union club to sign the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation as the Harlequins Foundation launched its flagship mental health campaign, METTLE.
Malcolm Wall, Chair of Trustees for the Harlequin Foundation said: “We know that playing sport has a positive impact on a person’s emotional wellbeing, so at its simplest we can encourage people to play rugby.
“Harlequins is a powerful brand which can help raise awareness and challenge stereotypes. Where this campaign differs is that we have also looked internally, in order to draw on our experience as a rugby team.
“The Club knows what it is like to deal with stressful situations as the team perform week after week under incredibly high pressure. There is an opportunity to share this experience and expertise, and in doing so better equip young people to deal with the stressful times in their lives.”
Mike Wilson, Managing Partner at Blake Morgan commented:
“Our public sector legal team has strong relationships with healthcare and educational organisations so we are proud to support an initiative that will help tackle one of their biggest challenges – the increase in mental health issues among young people. Not only will METTLE help equip young people with coping mechanisms, but it will also helps raise the profile of mental health issues and address the stigma that stops many young people from seeking help.”
Harlequins Foundation Ambassador Ugo Monye added: “Mental health is an ever growing issue for young people in the UK. Over the coming years, this programme will be the cornerstone of the Harlequins Foundation’s activity and partnerships.”
Val Farmer, Chief Executive of Richmond Borough Mind, said: “If we can support young people at an early stage, we can help prevent the more severe problems adult experience. Sport is the perfect arena to tackle this stigma and we are delighted that Harlequins is taking the initiative and using their fantastic skills to support their local communities through sport and coaching.”