Academy Staff Visit Mental Health Session

Barnsley Football Club Academy Lead Foundation Phase Coach Rob Watson delivered a session to Reds in the Community’s mental health group this afternoon.

Rob led the one-hour weekly session on the Oakwell indoor centre to help join in celebrations across the country for Mental Health Awareness Week.

He put the participants through their paces with some drills before overseeing a match, making it an enjoyable afternoon for everyone involved.

Rob, who has previously worked both for and alongside Reds in the Community across a number of projects, spoke about why he got involved with the mental health session and the importance of awareness weeks such as this.

He said: “It’s been really good, I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been a change from the Academy office and working with our kids day in day out. It’s good to come back up to the Community and work with the mental health team today. It’s great to work with the Community.

“It’s a big thing in football at the minute. We have a lot of players released from academies and a lot of mental health issues. We’re quite aware in football now. Initiatives like the one you do inside with the group are great.”

Earlier this week, Social Inclusion Officer Hannah Philips also spoke about the work of Reds in the Community within mental health, both internally and externally.

She said: “It’s a good way to get away from it all and use sport in a positive way. We’ve now got a full time member of staff. Kelly Robinson-Walton looks after our wellbeing and safeguarding at the trust. She looks after the students, she monitors their wellbeing day to day. She’s also first aid trained in mental health so any issues that come up here for staff and students, she’s more aware of how to deal with certain things.

“It’s massive. We think it’s paramount to us to support people. All of our core staff have been on an awareness course so they can support people if they are struggling with day to day things. It’s really important for us to keep those sessions going and they just grow week on week.”

The Reds’ Academy is also making positive steps in this vital area.

Barnsley FC Academy have pledged a commitment to achieving the Education in Sport Mental Health Award working with the Carnegie Centre of Excellence, in attempting to strengthen the mental health of the next generation.

The Academy will work alongside and use Reds in the Community in developing best practices that support young, gifted and talented footballers.

The Award provides a framework for whole mental health development, including sports institutions, in encouraging and making mental health and wellbeing a part of its core business, for all of its participants.