Having recognized the impact sports has in enhancing personal development for youths in different communities, Sport In Action conducted a 2 days mental health refresher training for football coaches working in hub sites and community centers where SIA has sports programs running.
The workshop was aimed at imparting the community football coaches with mental health awareness which they would then disseminate to youths in different communities using the power of sports.
Sport in Action acknowledges that sports coaches are key players in creating social conditions for positive youth development, especially in relation to creating a safe and motivational sports climate in which there are opportunities for life skill development and mental health promotion. The organization conducted its first mental health awareness training with coaches last year in April, 2021.
The refresher training was held at Bank of Zambia Sports Complex from 12th – 13th April, 2022 and had 25 coaches, GIA Coordinators and Hub Site Coordinators in attendance.
Key lessons at the workshop included:
1. Understanding mental health as the absence of mental disorder
2. Mental Health Stigma theory session
The concept of training community sports coaches is that sport is considered an outlet for youths because of the opportunities it creates to forget about the issues they have to deal with in everyday life. Offering fun activities is essential in keeping youths engaged in the sports lessons as it ensures that they will return every week. Sport In Action also believes in using word-of-mouth as key to disseminating mental health awareness to youths in communities. Sports creates a fun and safe space for youths to understand that they are not alone and that mental health is in all of us.
The coaches that attended the workshop acknowledged the impact sports has had in creating a learning environment for the youths and promoting positive mental health. They commended SIA for taking the initiative to continuously encourage mental health promotion among youths in communities using sports as a method of delivery.