Last Wednesday, academy players Max Dyche and Liam Cross joined a virtual assembly with Wootton Park School students to discuss mental health and the importance of talking.
This is part of new initiative ‘Wootton Park … Get Talking’ to highlight the importance of listening and meaningful conversations. The initiative aims to normalise the importance of talking with key messages including ‘sometimes it is ok not to be ok’ and ‘The better we talk, the better we feel.’
So far students have taken part in a Super Learner Day around wellbeing and have watched the Roman Kemp documentary which explores the mental health and suicide crisis affecting young men throughout the UK.
Each form group submitted questions for Max and Liam and students from different year groups came forward to ask them on camera.
Due to Covid protocols and bubbles, other tutor groups tuned in from their classrooms. Their questions were superb and very perceptive. Some questions related to the pressures of football, some were more general around coping strategies, stress and anxiety. Max and Liam were able to use their experiences in the youth team to answer openly, thoughtfully and reflectively. The messages they shared were around the importance of talking, how they check in with team mates, how being a footballer can affect mental health both positively and negatively. They gave some examples of what they do to improve mood, how to pick themselves up after a low patch, how they cope with pressure and negative comments, as well as self belief and motivations.
The question and answer session showed that whether you are a footballer or a student, mental health affects everyone and the challenges faced are similar; also the coping strategies. This week (10th-16th May) is national mental health awareness week; Liam and Max have done a great job raising awareness around mental health generally and the importance of talking. Having meaningful conversations is part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy.
A huge thank you to the youth team for helping to share such an important message and we were delighted to receive the following feedback from the school.
Thank you so much for the event – THE PLAYERS WERE AMAZING! Please thank them! Also I cannot thank you enough for your efforts – it has supported our initiative like you wouldn’t believe!
Hayley Chambers, Wellbeing Lead Teacher / Curriculum Leader of Wellbeing - Wellbeing Team
Thanks to Liam, Max and yourself – the feedback from learners has been totally fantastic. They want more!
Lydia Wild, Lead Wellbeing Coach