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NSPCC Supports World Mental Health Day
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Don’t Carry Your Burden Alone – NSPCC Shows Support For World Mental Health Day

The NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit is calling on sports’ organisations across Northern Ireland to use World Mental Health Day (10 October) as an opportunity to raise understanding of mental health issues among their membership.

dn_screenMental illness affects nearly 12 per cent of the world’s population, and can affect anyone, at any age. Recent NSPCC research found that 10% of young people involved in sport had self-harmed. Paul Stephenson, NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit said: “Sports organisations are ideally placed to make a real difference for vulnerable young people. Sport gives thousands of children in Northern Ireland the opportunity to have fun and develop vital personal, social and physical skills.

“However, sports organisations, clubs and activity groups have a duty of care towards the welfare of every child who attends their activities.  It is the responsibility of adults within a club to ensure that no young person feels they have to carry this burden alone. Often all a young person wants is to be able to talk to someone who will listen and respect them, making it so important that sports and activity providers nurture the development of a culture of respect.”

In support of World Mental Health Day, the Child Protection in Sport Unit recommends that sports organisations implement the following as part of their safeguarding policy:

1.     Encourage open discussions promoting mental health.

2.     Encourage clubs to have a culture of listening to young people and responding appropriately.

3.     Promote awareness of charities such as ChildLine 0800 111, www.ChildLine.org.uk and Lifeline 0808 808 8000

4.     Take proactive measures to ensure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in respect of safeguarding, and is provided with appropriate learning opportunities.

5.     Encourage coaches and club officials to attend suicide awareness training.

6.     Ensure suitable action is taken in the event of incidents or concerns indicating a child may be suffering from mental illness, or at risk of self-harm or suicide, and ensure support is available to the individual(s) who raise the concern.

If you are concerned that a young person is at risk of suicide or self-harm, don’t wait until you’re certain –  contact the NSPCC helpline for advice and support on 0808 800 5000, by emailing [email protected]  or text 88858.

About the NSPCC:

The NSPCC is the UK’s leading children’s charity specialising in child protection. Our vision is to end cruelty to children in the UK and we make a difference for all children by standing up for their rights, listening to them, helping them when they need us and by making them safe.

The NSPCC runs projects and services across the United Kingdom and Channel Islands to help vulnerable children. They also provide ChildLine, the UK’s free, confidential 24-hour helpline and online service for children and young people and a helpline for adults who are worried about a child or want advice.

If you have concerns about a child or young person, you can call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, text 88858 or visitwww.nspcc.org.uk