Harlequins Foundation using high-profile rugby club to raise awareness of mental health

Harlequins announced their support for Time to Talk Day by encouraging the nation to be open about mental health last week.

The south west London rugby club showed its support for Time to Talk Day as part of the Harlequins Foundation’s flagship campaign METTLE, on Thursday, February 2.

Launched in 2016, the METTLE campaign – which aims to educate children and young people dealing with stressful and challenging times – has recently completed a mental resilience programme for Year 6 pupils.

Time to Talk Day was established by Time to Change – a movement attempting to change the attitudes of how people think and act about mental health.

And the initiative is led by two charities – Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

Quins centre Joe Marchant said: “We are proud to support Time to Talk Day because mental health is a topic that we should all feel able to talk about.

“Having these all important conversations with friends, family members and colleagues makes a big difference, and that is why we are encouraging people to use today as an opportunity to spark up those conversations.

“It may change someone’s life.”

It is estimated one in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year, while 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression.

Time to Change claims 3.4 million adults in England have improved attitudes towards mental health problems since the movement started in 2007.

The Harlequins Foundation has challenging the stigma surrounding mental health issues at the forefront of its METTLE campaign.

The METTLE campaign also seeks to support the mental well-being of players, coaches and staff of the Twickenham-based side, as well as building the mental resilience of young people from local areas and further afield.

The campaign oversaw a successful trial period when coaches visited four primary schools between September and December 2016 aiming to educate children and young people to deal with stressful and challenging times and situations.

The Foundation is also set to announce a partnership with St Mary’s University and Richmond Borough Mind.

Harlequins Foundation head Victoria Hartley said: “We realise that one of the biggest differences we can make through METTLE is by using the profile and voice of Harlequins to raise awareness of mental health.

“We hope to be able to encourage those around us to pick up the phone, stop for a chat – just start a conversation.”

For more information on the Harlequins Foundation and the METTLE campaign, visit www.Harlequins.Foundation.

Featured image courtesy of Getty Images for Harlequins’, with thanks

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