THE NATION’S coaches can use a vital online course free of charge thanks to a key partnership to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.
UK Coaching has today (May 18) announced – in collaboration with its awarding organisation 1st4sport and partners Mind, the mental health charity, and Sport England – that coaches can access the Mental Health for Sport and Physical Activity online course for free.
The news comes at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation and runs between May 18-24.
Usually £18, the course is accessible via the organisation’s learning and development platform – ukcoaching.org – and will remain free of charge until August 31.
Coaches across the UK will be able to increase their knowledge of mental health and confidence when applying the learning into their coaching practice.
Specifically, learners will be able to welcome and support people living with mental health problems in their sport and physical activity sessions, increase their knowledge of mental health problems, apply the learning in their coaching practice and make their club or organisation more inclusive.
UK Coaching’s director of coaching Emma Atkins said: “Maintaining good mental health and well-being during the coronavirus lockdown was always going to be one of the key challenges facing us, especially, with social distancing measures limiting our face-to-face interactions with friends and family members outside of our homes.
“This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness and we wanted to honour that by coming together with our partners Mind and Sport England to take the financial burden of an essential piece of coach learning and development away from coaches.
“During this time, we are seeing more coaches using online learning and this course is one we know coaches enjoy and benefit from putting what they have learnt into practice. This is vital as we return to play over the coming months.
“There will be many of us who will have found this extended period of isolation difficult and many of us who will find the ‘new normal’ that awaits us after lockdown equally challenging. Coaches are key conduits in helping communities to thrive and prosper. We will need them now more than ever before to help us get back running, mentally, as well as physically.”
Mind’s head of physical activity Hayley Jarvis said: “We’re really proud to be announcing this news during such a significant awareness week and at a time when more people than ever are in need of support for their mental health.
“We know physical activity can play a vital role in improving and maintaining mental health, but that many people with mental health problems face additional barriers to getting active, whether inside or outdoors.
“Coaches and coaching organisations are in a fantastic position to make a real difference to the lives of people with mental health problems, so we are delighted this online course is now freely available for the whole coaching community.”
Sport England’s coaching development manager Sion Kitson said: “Considering the challenges we are all facing, it was right for us to come together to support coaches by removing the financial obstacle of accessing this essential course.
“People enjoying high quality physical activity is central to the mental and physical well-being of the nation. Despite the lockdown, coaches have worked doubly hard to find amazing ways to keep people active. Hopefully, this small gesture will go a long way towards continuing their professional development.”
Everyone who usually delivers coaching in a club, leisure centre or any other community sports and physical activity setting – such as coaches, activators, sports administrators, front of house staff, volunteers and fitness instructors and personal trainers – will benefit from Mental Health for Sport and Physical Activity.
The online course is recognised to provide learners with three CPD (continuing professional development) points as awarded by the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA).
Access the course at ukcoaching.org/courses/learn-at-home/mental-health-awareness-for-sport-and-physical-act.