Praise for mental health initiative

Coleraine captain Stephen O’Donnell has welcomed the Northern Ireland Football League’s partnership programmes that support the mental well-being of clubs and their personnel.

Monday, 11th May 2020, 12:54 pm
Updated Monday, 11th May 2020, 12:58 pm
Coleraine's Stephen O'Donnell has welcomed the Northern Ireland Football League’s partnership programmes that support the mental well-being of clubs and their personnel. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

NIFL announced five bespoke options for clubs, coaches and players from respected partners to assist with mental health and wellbeing support that are immediately available to access.

O’Donnell hopes players and staff use these new resources, particularly during these uncertain times.

He said: “Any support for players outside of the pitch is positive news.

“I feel that it is a step in the right direction for the long term support of players and staff within our league.

“The opportunity to access these resources throughout this period of lockdown is great and I hope that players across the league will take advantage of them.

“Mental health will always be a key issue in our society.

“However, throughout these last two months when anxiety and uncertainty are heightened, its important that we offer support to those who need it.

“I hope this response will lead to the long term facilitation of resources to support players and staff.

“Players and staff alike have personal issues and problems that are heightened with the pressure of competition and performing.

“So specific measures to support their needs are essential.

“Through the resources made available, through the club, through players or a member of staff I would encourage anyone who is feeling stressed, anxious or having any negative thoughts or feelings to reach out and talk to someone.

“The response and support from that point on will only be positive.

“It may feel like the toughest step, but reaching out and talking about it will make the biggest difference.”

O’Donnell has also praised his own club for its support during these unprecedented times.

He said: “Coleraine have been open with us as players and kept us as up to date as possible with how things are developing.

“Financially, they alleviated any concerns and the picture was made clear for players from day one.

“As a group of players and staff we’ve been in regular contact and a few group meet ups and quizzes online have helped keep everyone feeling together.

“Finally the gaffer and the club have given us plenty of individual training and work to get through.”