Everton in mental health awareness event

Everton Women’s Courtney Brosnan and Hanna Bennison took a trip to Springwell Park Primary School in Bootle to find out more about Everton in the Community’s Tackling the Blues programme as part of this week’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

The programme, delivered alongside Edge Hill University and Tate Liverpool, is a sports and art-based programme that focuses on supporting children and young people who are at risk or may be experiencing problems regarding their mental health.

The Everton duo took part in the session, which educated young people on the various emotions and feelings they may experience in day-to-day life and offered their own insight in how they manage those feelings on and off the pitch.

Pupils were able to hear first-hand from the players and hear about the emotions they go through on a typical matchday, allowing children to have a better understanding of the mindset of professional footballers.

Taking away the advice and guidance from the teachers, the children were then asked to illustrate a moment of their choice and write down the different feelings they may experience during this time.

James Ratcliffe, Tackling the Blues Coordinator, explained how beneficial the workings of the programme are to young people.

He said: “It’s important that we provide children with a platform to describe and relate their feelings openly to people around them, and the more examples we can provide to young people to help them speak openly about how they’re feeling, the better.

“Having the first-hand insight of professional footballers who many can aspire and consider as role models talk about the emotions they go through using football as an example can open a whole new conversation for young people and help them acknowledge their feelings even more.

Tackling the Blues has engaged with more than 30 local schools and continues to help students improve their mental health and educational wellbeing, and was recently recognised at the Educate North Awards where the programme scooped the Mental Health and Wellbeing award.

Having discovered Tackling the Blues’ impact, Everton’s Brosnan reiterated the important messages from the programme, in light of this week’s mental health awareness week.

“These initiatives are amazing – we can come here as a good role model or positive influence to reiterate these things that they’re talking about,” the Republic of Ireland international said.

“Football always has ups and downs and it’s about riding those ups and downs and talking about those things to the people around you to support you. I think you learn to deal with those things as you mature but starting that process early is a great advantage for them.” – COURTNEY BROSNAN Everton Women’s Goalkeeper