Dame Kelly Holmes Trust are working with the Sport for Development Coalition and key partners to launch a national campaign this weekend aimed at encouraging 21,000 sports coaches and volunteers to become trained in mental health awareness by the year 2021.

The launch of the #21by21 campaign, which will be supported by a web portal at www.21by21.info, coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week which runs May 13-20.

The campaign's target is to ensure sports coaches and volunteers have the three core skills needed to protect the people they work with: first aid, safeguarding and mental health awareness.

Coalition manager Sarah Mortiboys said:

We strongly believe that mental health awareness should be recognised as a core competency, alongside physical first aid and safeguarding, for coaches and volunteers in sport and physical activity, and look forward to supporting all of the organisations committed to achieving this important target by 2021. If you agree that mental health is just as important as physical health, and that sport and physical activity have a role to play in supporting it, please join this campaign.

Offering her support to the programme, Dame Kelly Holmes said:

I know from personal experience that sport has the power to support young people to develop emotionally as well as physically. It builds self-esteem, confidence and often lifelong friendships. Making sure that everyone delivering sport for young people can spot signs of mental ill health, and provide appropriate help when it’s needed, adds to its benefit. Whether it’s for a professional coach or a mum or dad helping out on the sidelines, mental health first aid training in community sport helps to support better mental health for young people.”

Recently, the Trust's Athlete Manager, Adam Whitehead attended a Mental Health First Aid instructor training course:

Everybody has mental health, and it is a continuum, at times people can experience poor mental health.  Allowing people to be honest and open about their mental health can catch it early and allow the person to access support. We want to ensure all our staff and athletes are mental health first aid trained plus where appropriate, young leaders and ambassadors on our programmes.

You can find out more about the programme, find out about all the partners involved and sign up to offer support at www.21by21.info