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Sport Northern Ireland (SNI) has launched a Mental Health and Wellbeing pilot programme, aiming to increase awareness of the importance of mental health among the region’s sports operators.

The scheme will “target all aspects of positive mental health” from grassroots to high performance level and also help sports clubs and national 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, the SNI pilot will deliver programmes that will have a direct impact on the coaching and playing population of sports clubs.

SNI will work with a number of partners on the initiative, such as the charity Sporting Chance, founded by former Arsenal and England captain Tony Adams.

CEO Antoinette McKeown said: “To strengthen mental health resilience 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 possibly.

“Sport is a vital component in building resilience, both personally as well as within the club setting. Our programme aims to build mental resilience in our athletes and provide support when it is needed.”

The initiative will be rolled out in phases across all five regions of Northern Ireland, staring with East Down (Downpatrick) in November and December 2014.

Four further regional programmes have been identified for delivery throughout January and March 2015.

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Sport Northern Ireland (SNI) has launched a Mental Health and Wellbeing pilot programme, aiming to increase awareness of the importance of mental health among the region’s sports operators.
The scheme will be supported by former Arsenal captain Tony Adams (far right) and his Sporting Chance charity / SNI


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