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1 February 2019

Cambridge United have announced that they have put their full-time academy coaching staff through Mental Health First Aid Training.

The training was delivered to Cambridge United by Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire MIND. The two-day course accredited by Mental Health First Aid England qualifies individuals as Mental Health First Aiders.

Cambridge United’s full-time academy coaching staff gained knowledge on factors affecting wellbeing, signs to spot mental health issues and practical steps to take to support others and themselves.

The move to put the academy coaching staff through Mental Health First Aid training is part of Cambridge United’s commitment to being a Mentally Healthy Football Club which was announced in July 2018. The English Football League also announced the On Your Side partnership with Mind beginning in the 2018/19 season.

Tom Pell, Cambridge United Academy Manager, said “Understanding the mental pressures that players are subjected to is an important part of modern football and can help to give us as an academy a competitive edge. The Mental Health First Aid training has helped to put all our full-time academy coaching staff on the same page so that we can ensure that our young players are in the best mental condition to perform on and off the pitch.”

Darryl Coakley, Mental Health Officer for Cambridge United Community Trust and Sports Psychologist for Cambridge United’s academy, said “Putting our full time academy coaching staff through this training is an important step for the football club as we look to embed positive mental health at Cambridge United as part of our commitment to being a mentally health football club. Utilising an understanding of sports psychology and mental health can help both performance on the pitch and wellbeing off of it. As a football club we have a duty to perform as well as we can on the pitch as well as support both professional players and academy players off the pitch, this training will help our coaching staff to do both.”

Colin Calderwood, Cambridge United Head Coach, said “This is an excellent initiative at Cambridge United and something that I wholeheartedly support. Mental health is important for everyone to understand and ensuring that players at all ages take their own mental health seriously can help people both on the pitch and off it. We are embedding similar messages within the first team and having a continuity of message across the whole club that mental health is important will undoubtedly help Cambridge United to succeed.”

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