During mental health awareness week, the Scottish FA have launched an eLearning Mental Health Coach Education module that will be available to all coaches, volunteers and administrators within the game.

The module, which has been created by Hampden Sports Clinic, in conjunction with Breathing Space, will take the form of an online educational course.

The Scottish FA have become the first of the home nations to create their own bespoke course which is an educational tool for all coaches, in order to help them understand the importance of mental health along with advice on how to deal with the issue effectively.

The module is expected to educate more than 10,000 people across the game, per year.

Mental health problems affect 25% of adults in Scotland each year and are something that 10% of teenagers across the country are currently living with.

This is the latest Scottish FA initiative put in place to help and raise awareness to those living with mental health issues after the association demonstrated their support to the ‘Heads Up’ campaign earlier this year.

All kick-off times in the William Hill Scottish Cup Fifth Round were delayed by one minute to encourage players, staff and supporters alike to engage in conversation around mental health.

Later this year, the Mental Health Action Plan will be launched across Scotland.

Dr Katy Stewart, from Hampden Sports Clinic, said: “In our society, there is still a stigma surrounding mental health. There is often a fear around talking about mental health and how we feel.

“The main aim of this module is to equip people with the tools and techniques to effectively support their players and fellow coaches.

“We are delighted to work with the Scottish FA and Breathing Space in this pioneering initiative and look forward to educating coaches in Scotland about mental health for years to come.”

Tony McLaren, Breathing Space National Co-Ordinator said: "Mental health has a huge impact on our thoughts, behaviours and emotions. 

“Whatever sport you participate in it's so important to prioritise our mental health as well as our physical health particularly during times of stress.

“The Breathing Space phone and Webchat service is available in the evenings and at weekends, to provide listening, advice, and signposting to anyone who is struggling or experiencing distress in their lives.

“This additional e-learning resource, provided by the Scottish FA with Hampden Sports Clinic, offers further quality support to athletes and coaches and provides some excellent guidance to help sporting enthusiasts to care for and manage their mental wellbeing."  

Greig Paterson, Scottish FA’s Head of Coach Education & Development said: “We are passionate about ensuring our coaches are as well equipped as possible to continue their coaching journey once they have undergone their courses and we want them to be as well rounded as possible.

“Integrating the eLearning mental health module will add another string to the bow and help coaches and volunteers in the game gain more understanding about the importance of mental health within our society, especially in football.

“The module will be rolled out this week as an option to all coaches undergoing all coach education courses and will become a mandatory prerequisite as of January 2021.

“It will dovetail with the Child Wellbeing module that is also compulsory to undertake and enable our coaches to be aware of important social factors before they undertake any practical sessions.”

Former Scotland National Team midfielder Charlie Adam said: “The newly launched eLearning mental health module will give coaches a head start on issues they may well need to face in their managerial career.

“As a coach you will find yourself in a lonely places at times, in terms of setting up sessions and being frustrated about how results are going.

“Or you might not be in a job, which could have a negative effect on your mental health.

“These are the moments that will happen to all coaches at some point along their journey so it is important to recognise that and it is great thinking from the Scottish FA and the Hampden Sports Clinic to give consideration to mental health and educate coaches on the subject.

“Hopefully this is the start of mental health being educated to coaches as it is something that will be of great benefit to them.

“In terms of my own coaching journey, I have passed my B Licence and am currently undergoing my A Licence. The quality of the Scottish FA courses is second to none and adding mental health education to them will only go to increasing their level of value.”