By Emma Halliday
Image courtesy of Remmo van Rooyen.
This weekend (Round 8) of the Queensland Premier Rugby calendar will mark the Queensland Premier Rugby Mental Health Round.
Premier Grade clubs have been making strides in Mental Health support and training after the rolling out of Queensland Rugby Union’s ‘In Touch Mental Health Program’.
UQ Rugby is leading the way, having had nine members of the Red Heavies community recently complete their Mental Health First Aid accreditation, and another four members about to commence the next round of training.
The club recognises that mental health is just as important as physical health, on and off the field.
UQRFC General Manager Jason Greenhalgh, said that the Mental Health First Aid Officers are there as the first point of contact for anyone struggling.
“I am so proud of the way the Red Heavies have taken up the challenge with this increasing issue of mental health,” he said.
“As a Club, we are fully aware that the majority of our players who are young adults aged 18-25, fall into the most vulnerable group susceptible to mental health issues.
“We need to ensure that we as a Club are there for our players and support staff, both on and off the field.”
To further demonstrate the Club’s commitment to this cause, UQ Rugby Club are also working with qualified psychologist Kieran Plasto, to develop additional framework to support Club members who need further assistance with their mental wellbeing.
The Mental Health First Aid Officers within the Club have been trained to help provide initial help and support to players who may be struggling with their mental health.
One of the club’s members to complete this training is Sports Trainer Soraya Hammond.
Soraya said that it is a really valuable skill to be able to help players mentally as well as physically.
“I do physical first aid at the club with all the players so I have spent a lot of time with players who have injured themselves and are coming back from injury and I find that headspace can be really tough for some players,” she said.
“We have a really well established medical space at the club and so we wanted to fill the gap and provide in mental health too.
“Having a bit of guidance in a mental health space can be really valuable when things get tough for players.”
Members of the Red Heavies community who have completed the training include:
Barry Angus, Cavan Du Toit, Georgia Franklin, Jason Greenhalgh, Soraya Hammond, Stuart Hubbert, Laura Mitchell, Zach Russell-Sharam and Shawn Towndrow.
If you are struggling with your mental health, or just need an ear to listen to any issues around your wellbeing, please reach out to our Mental Health First Aid trained members. They are here to assist!