E221 - Building Mental Resilience Through Sport with Anthony York and Paul Williams
“…young people are talked at all the time… everybody likes to tell young people what to do. It’s nice for us to ask them what they want and what works for them …” – Anthony York
This episode is airing in the middle of arguably one of the most controversial sporting competitions in history. However to show the other side of how sport can be a force for good, I am happy to have had a conversation with Anthony York, CEO at Boxing Futures and Paul Williams, Director of Program Implementation at Movember to discuss how sport can play a vital role in building mental resilience. These two men have harnessed their lifetime passions for sport to enable them to make a difference to disenfranchised young people and the communities around them.
1. Social isolation does not just impact older people
Sport for children has been shown to reduce anxiety, improvements in higher self-efficacy, self-confidence. Brothers through Boxing aimed at 16-25 year-old men who are socially isolated and seeks to improve their social connections. It’s important that there are free-to-access programmes for these individuals to help them build their social connections; this is because positive interpersonal relationships are a huge prevention factor in someone reaching crisis point in their mental health and ultimately taking their own life.
2. Being beneficiary-led
As the quote above demonstrates, our society isn’t always good at listening to young people. By building programmes from the start alongside the young people, it gives them a greater autonomy and engagement in what they’re involved in. Lots of the young people in programmes looking at building mental resilience through sport have been through other interventions like counselling which haven’t always worked for them but these alternative approaches can make a big difference. One the programmes are up and running, it’s important to keep communication open with the beneficiaries, especially when changes to the programme are being considered
3. “Go beyond the banter”
Every global sporting tournament rightly talks about the legacy they want to create for the host nation but Rugby League are the first body to take the step of bringing a mental fitness charter into this work. By integrating the mental fitness training not only to tournament participants, but also the communities in which matches were held, they have identified a really need in these areas to foster programmes to support suicide prevention.
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We hope you enjoy this week’s episode.
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