Three members of Scottish Hockey’s Lead the Way initiative, who have been involved in the mental health work undertaken by the University of Edinburgh Women’s HC, have produced a case study to help others.
Eilidh Campbell, Emma Lambert and Hana Nasser – Eilidh and Emma play for Edinburgh Uni and Hana is at Watsonians – from the project, alongside club welfare officer Iona Grant, developed it to share with hockey and sports clubs across Scotland as a means of promoting and supporting mental health initiatives within clubs.
Eilidh said: “During one of our discussions, we talked about mental health in hockey, especially over the lockdowns, and about what our clubs had done to help members and support people.
“Edinburgh University has done a really good job, so we talked about everything we had done as well as what worked well for us personally and for the people we know.”
They were then contacted by Scottish Hockey with the prospect of putting together a case study.
Hana had come up with the idea of having the club post anonymous stories on its social media pages detailing members’ personal mental health experiences. She had got the idea from the Humans of New York Instagram page – run by a New York photographer who takes photographs of random New Yorkers then asks them to tell him their stories.
People could submit their stories via an anonymous online form to shine a light on mental health while tackling stigma. “I thought it would be interesting to do that from the angle of mental health in sport,” she said.
“I was doing a masters degree at Edinburgh University and had always been intrigued by athletes’ mental health. I saw that people did not really talk about their mental health, especially if they are athletes, so I put forward an idea to the hockey club then watched it grow arms and legs.
One of the main findings was that the Welfare and Inclusivity Officer role at the club has been vitally important in supporting members with mental health issues and promoting inclusivity within the club.
Iona said: “I am not there to solve people’s problems, I’m not a councillor or a healthcare professional, but I’m there to lend an ear and promote the services that are available.”
Edinburgh University has been working on expanding the welfare officer role across its entire sports offering, highlighting especially the success of the position at the hockey club.
Recent graduate Hana is now also using her experience to work with her new committee at Watsonians HC to establish an Inclusivity and Diversity Officer role and to showcase the importance of such roles across Scottish sport.
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