Basketball England has become the first national governing body of sport to train its staff to a Level 2 award in mental health awareness.
The move comes after the NGB identified mental health awareness as a key development area for staff working across its talent programmes.
The qualification – to be delivered in partnership with Active IQ – has been designed to provide Basketball England’s network of coaches with an understanding and awareness of common mental ill-health symptoms and issues, greater understanding to help reduce stigma and discrimination and skills to encourage people to talk openly about mental health.
The course will also help coaches spot the signs of mental health issues in themselves as well as colleagues and gives them the skills to offer mental health first aid to people.
Active IQ will upskill Basketball England’s regional talent managers to enable them to deliver the qualification to all Basketball England talent coaches and coordinators. The network comprises over 200 staff who, once trained, will have a greater awareness of mental health and how to support athletes on their programmes.
The course will eventually form part of Basketball England’s induction process for all new coaches coming onto the talent pathway.
“Talent environments, by their very nature, are competitive and both players and coaches can face increased levels of pressure and stress throughout their careers,” said Active IQ managing director Jenny Patrickson.
“Basketball England is also aware of the importance for coaches to be able to spot the early signs among players, particularly younger ones and those faced by injury or setbacks who are more vulnerable to struggling mentally during challenging times.”
Charlie Ford, Talent Programme and Pathway Manager for Basketball England added: “All sports have a duty of care to provide their athletes and staff with support to alleviate the increased levels of pressure that comes from being in a performance environment."
"The delivery of the mental health awareness course is just the start in tackling this important area and it is my hope that we can provide further development opportunities for our largely volunteer workforce as we move forward.”