World Mental Health Day - HEADZ

These are our evidence based top mental health tips for ‘LooseHeadz’ to promote within their rugby club.   

We thought we’d utilise HEADZ as an acronym to help us all remember!

Help, Eat, Ask, Daily and the Zzzz to remind us about sleep.

As we carried out our research in the rugby community, we loved hearing how implementing these things are already making a positive impact and wanted to share some examples too.

H is for Help others: We all know that helping others is a great thing to do. But did you know that it also benefits our own mental health? It can help reduce stress, improve our emotional wellbeing and even benefit our physical health. Helping others also creates a sense of belonging within our communities and reduces isolation. 

When asked if their rugby community has had a positive impact on mental health, one rugby club coach shared it had because of “The opportunity to focus on something positive (developing age grade players) when aspects of my personal life hasn't been going so well.”

E is for Eat well: The way we feel physically, affects how we feel emotionally. Research suggests that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains can play a critical role in supporting good mental health.

A is for Ask for support: None of us are superhuman. We all get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel, especially when things go wrong.  If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Family and friends can be a vital source of support and empathy, which can make any problem seem more manageable. 

We heard so many accounts of the rugby community being a place of support, here’s one of those: “Rugby is a perfect escape, you focus on whatever needs to be done at training or in a match.  Being able to talk to other lads about moves/techniques is great and having the hormone boost from exercise is a proven boost for mental health. I've shared my previous need for antidepressants with the squad and they've been supportive, and I know that if I went through another rough patch that I could raise it with them.”

D is for Daily exercise: Being active means doing anything that gets your heart rate up and makes you breathe faster – it doesn’t have to mean doing sport or going to the gym. Try to think of how you can bring in more activity to your daily life, in ways that you value and enjoy. 

It is brilliant to hear from players that this is happening in clubs all across the world, here’s one example “Physical activity and general socialisation in the club for myself and many others is an essential to maintaining positive mental health.”

Z’s is for sleep: Sleep makes a huge difference to our physical and mental health. Adults typically need between seven and nine hours a night, whereas children need between eight and ten hours a night. Some people find sleep easier than others but there are simple steps we can all take to improve the quality of our sleep: get into a routine, wind down before going to bed, reduce light and sound, don’t stress, and if you’re really not tired, don’t lie there, just get up and re-set yourself.