Posted on 24/09/2019 in Acrobatic
The number of concerns reported to Scottish Gymnastics regarding mental wellbeing has trebled since 2016.
This was one of the stark figures heard by members attending the Scottish Gymnastics Safeguarding Symposium in Stirling on Sunday, during the mental wellbeing session led by Pamela Finch from Thrive Scotland. Concerns have included anxiety, self-harm and eating disorders. On average, young people wait more than a year before telling an adult how they’re feeling.
The session focused on what mental wellbeing is, its importance and how to promote it. Coaches, safeguarding officers and club leaders took part in interactive role-playing scenarios based on real cases acted out by Beth Hamilton and were given practical tools such as breathing exercises to use back in their clubs.
Social media was the focus of the afternoon’s interactive session led by Arlene Sinclair and Donna Martin from Child Friendly Culture. They encouraged members to think about their digital footprint and the safeguards that can be put in place to protect children, young people and coaches.
Ethics, welfare and conduct manager, Eilidh McCall-Lawrie, said: “The symposium allows us to bring our safeguarding officers, club leaders and coaches together to discuss these important subjects and give them useful tools to take back to their club to help them.
“Social media is an ever-increasing area of use for young people where there are challenges as well as benefits. The knock-on effect of these challenges to mental health can be profound. We are supporting our clubs by giving them skills and techniques to support not just gymnasts, but all members.”
Doc McKelvey, Scottish Gymnastics Chief Executive Officer, added: “Safeguarding is an important area for us to ensure a safe and fun environment for all our members. Volunteers are invaluable in this, and that’s why we provide ongoing education, support and guidance to help safeguarding officers perform their role effectively.
“The mental wellbeing of our members, staff and board is a priority for Scottish Gymnastics, given one in four young people and adults in Scotland experience mental health issues. We are committed to improving awareness and developing supportive programmes and practical tools to help cultivate mental fitness and wellbeing across our sport.”
Watch what attendees through of this year's safeguarding symposium in the video below.
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