England Rugby and Simplyhealth have teamed up as part of Mental Health Awareness Week as part of a player aid program to increase the rugby community’s mental health support.
A new guide has been created as part of the RFU’s RugbySafe program to provide additional support to rugby clubs that so often support hubs for their local communities.
England Rugby and Simplyhealth developed this dedicated resource on mental health for the community game researched and prepared by the Mental Health Foundation to provide advice and guidance to help rugby communities identify symptoms of poor mental health and refer members to professionals when needed.
The new resource complements a series of mental health question and answer sessions for players and volunteers during the lockdown.
As the country emerges from the lockdown, Mental Health Awareness Week has never been more important or the ability to recognize that someone is having bigger problems.
As part of the RugbySafe program, Simplyhealth ambassadors Dylan Hartley and David Beeney – founders of Breaking the Silence – shared personal experiences and suggestions on creating open environments where teammates are comfortable to speak and ask for help.
During this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, England Rugby highlighted the important role rugby clubs across the country are already playing in helping their communities.
In 2019/20, stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 51% of all work-related illnesses, while the economic and social costs of mental health problems in England are estimated at around £ 105 billion a year.
One in six adults has a common mental health problem, and it is hoped that training on how to identify the signs and be prepared to intervene and offer help will reduce the stigma of talking about our mental health and the risks it poses.
RFU Executive Director Bill Sweeney said, “I am impressed with the progress we have made as a sport and society in removing the stigma of talking about mental health.
“We still have a long way to go, but so many of our clubs are committed to mental health awareness and support that I am optimistic about the future.
“We often speak of the rugby family and the best families are always ready to listen and help out in challenging times.
“Many of us have been touched by tragedies that could have been avoided if we had known and understood more – that knowledge and understanding is something that our sport can convey well.
“We are a team sport and a sports community, and I am deeply grateful to all of our clubs and constituencies who are working to improve the spiritual wellbeing of their players and members and to protect the members of the rugby family.
“We are very excited to have our partner Simplyhealth support in creating this great resource for the wellbeing of our rugby community.”
Visit to download England Rugby and Simplyhealth mental health resources or to learn more about the RugbySafe Player Welfare Program EnglandRugby.com/RugbySafe