Great Minds is a new collaborative project launched on 21 September that is part of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership’s broader suicide prevention work. It is being carried out in partnership with State of Mind Sport. We will also be working closely with a variety of clubs across WY&H including super-league and smaller community clubs.

Established in 2011, State of Mind Sport is a charity that harnesses the power of sport to promote positive mental health among sportsmen and women, fans and wider communities, and ultimately to prevent suicide. The charity delivers education on the subject to all levels of sport, business, education and community groups, and signposts people to where they can receive care and support in their area.

Our project is a set of workshops aimed at men, helping them work through various mental health issues that challenge their equilibrium. It will link into the national and local public health initiatives that are directly concerned with suicide prevention specifically for men. The project aims to work alongside public health leads to help them provide an alternative support in the six places of the ICS, reaching out to the most vulnerable via social media and direct contact with sporting groups, clubs and communities.

The sessions will be delivered by former rugby league professionals and mental health first aid trainers Danny Sculthorpe, Jimmy Gittins, Phil Veivers and Ian Smith pictured below

Great Minds will deliver initial sessions online covering basic mental fitness, stress management, building resilience, exploring emotional intelligence, problem solving and anger management. Former professional and successful, recognisable sportspeople will share their stories and the coping strategies that they have used when faced with life changing events such as mental health challenges, bereavement through suicide, mental fitness challenges and other mental health conditions that have affected their wellbeing.

Dr Michael Doyle, Deputy Director of Nursing and Quality, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and lead for suicide prevention in the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership said:

“In England, nearly 100 people die each week as a result of suicide and the latest national figures show that Yorkshire and the Humber region had the highest suicide rate in England over a three-year period between 2017 and 2019. The main aim of our Suicide Prevention Strategy is to develop working relationships with partner agencies and Great Minds is an innovative project for us that will bring State of Mind Sport’s established programme to support and complement the work taking place in the six local places that the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership covers.

“Our Pathfinder Development workers will organise and facilitate the sessions with the presenters, taking the men who join us through the process with up to eight weekly sessions, which will give them new skills to manage their mental health. Those interested can choose to join for just one session or all eight sessions, whatever suits their circumstances best”.

For more information about Great Minds email and watch our video.