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Sport NI's Positive Mental Health Programme: Ex-England and Arsenal captain Tony Adams helps launch new scheme

Former England and Arsenal captain Tony Adams has helped launch a new scheme aimed at using sport to aid in good mental health.

Sport Northern Ireland is launching a Mental Health and Wellbeing pilot programme, operating until April 2015, which will target all aspects of positive mental health through sport from grassroots to developmental and high performance level.  The new programme will help sporting clubs and governing bodies build a mental health support structure and education programme.

Building on the success of the Sport Northern Ireland Mental Health Awareness initiative delivered in partnership with the Public Health Agency, work is now underway to deliver programmes that will have a direct impact on the coaching and playing population of sports clubs, right through from the Playground to the Podium. 

Sport Northern Ireland have also brought in partners Sporting Chance, brainchild of former Arsenal and England Captain Tony Adams MBE, and Aware Defeat Depression, a charity which works exclusively for those with depression in Northern Ireland.  Both Tony Adams and former Armagh GAA player Oisin McConville are helping to launch the new programme, lending their support to this important area of work. The programme will be piloted in seven key sports.

Speaking at the event, Sport Northern Ireland Chief Executive Antoinette McKeown said:

"To build mental health resiliance in the sporting community is an essential building block, but when a time comes that an individual asks for help, they need to receive this as quickly as possible," she said.

"The area of Mental Health and Wellbeing is extremely important and sport is a vital component in building resilience, both personally as well as within the club setting."

Tony Adams said: "We are delighted to be working with Sport Northern Ireland. For over 14 years, we have been developing services to meet the needs of athletes' emotional welfare. In this time our services have evolved, I believe, to be recognised as unique and probably the best in the world for dealing with certain issues.

This said, my original purpose still holds good, that when a sportsman or woman asks for support, someone responds. It is a great pleasure to work with people that share this vision."


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