Plymstock Albion Oaks help promote mental health awareness

18 Sep 2018 13:39 | Devon RFU

PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks’ first team have been doing their bit to raise awareness for mental health this season.

The side, who are the early leaders of the Cornwall/Devon League, have been wearing warm-up T-shirts before games promoting the Mario Curtis Foundation and carrying the slogan ‘You don’t have to TACKLE it alone’.

Oaks helped set up the Mario Curtis Foundation last season in the memory of one of their former junior coaches.  

The foundation’s goal is to raise awareness for mental health and make sure people know where they can go to get help.

Oaks’ Simon Ruel said: “It is about raising awareness and trying to get people talking.”

The foundation was launched at a gala dinner and auction at Oaks last season that raised a staggering £10,000. They were also one of the chosen charities for last year’s Plymouth Varsity.

“The money is going towards training and education in suicide awareness,” said Ruel.

“We have had 10 people do a ‘safeTALK’ course so far. I am an instructor in that and we’re hoping to train all of our coaches and some of the parents.

“It is just about recognising the signs of suicide, keeping people safe and signposting them to the correct help.

“We are also aiming to do workshops with all our age groups from under-sevens. These are just about encouraging them to talk about things. So if they have a problem then they are encouraged to talk to their parents or a coach about it rather than bottling it up and then it becoming a bigger problem later in life.”

Ruel said that three of the people that they had put onto a ‘safeTALK’ course had already helped somebody.

“It is just about recognising the signs and then signposting them to specialist care.”

The foundation have also had posters and leaflets printed that they plan to distribute to all Devon clubs.  

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