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Five ways your sports community can improve mental health and money troubles

Whatever sport you play, there are ways to keep on top of your physical, mental and economic health while doing so - and to help others, too. Stock image.
National Sports Sunday, facilitated by Sports Chaplaincy UK, is taking place on Sunday, May 14.

To mark the event, Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is celebrating our local sports teams and individual sporting athletes whilst raising awareness of the link between mental health and debt.

There’s a great community spirit at many sports clubs, but there isn’t always a focus on or opportunities to talk openly about everyday issues that impact us.

Here are five ways to improve life for people in your sporting community.

1. Open up a conversation with a teammate or someone you know.

Starting a conversation doesn’t mean that you’re offering to counsel them through all their deepest secrets and fears, it can simply mean checking in with someone and letting them know you are around to chat.

2. Seek free professional help if you are struggling with a particular issue.

If you or a friend is struggling with their mental health, gambling, alcohol or substance abuse, there’s free help available, including Mind, GamCare, AA or UKNA.

If you have debt or money issues, contact a free, reputable debt advice organisation such as CAP at

3. If you’re looking for something in between those two options, try chatting with your sports coach or club chaplain if they have one.

A coach’s role includes supporting their athletes to receive mental healthcare, and offer a confidential space to chat, down-to-earth with no airs or graces, and no expectations.

4. Consider going on a budgeting course.

Sport is an amazing thing to be involved in, but it can be costly.

It’s important that we’re able to budget well so we can continue to enjoy our hobby without getting into financial difficulty.

CAP offers free money coaching in local communities like yours.

5. Make encouragement part of your routine.

In competitive environments, it’s easy to default to a critical mindset – whether the criticism is aimed towards others or yourself.

Make a point this week to encourage a teammate, cheer that runner on, or even give a shout-out to a fellow sports person on social media.

Give yourself the praise you deserve, too. Small positive encouragements can make a real difference to a person’s mental wellbeing.

Jonathan Hayward is the manager of the West NI Debt Centre operated by the Enniskillen Presbyterian Church in partnership with Christians Against Poverty (CAP) which is a UK charity with over 580 services across the UK delivering free debt counselling, and money management courses.

Both these services are freely available to everyone in Fermanagh. Visit to find out more.

Sports Chaplaincy UK (SCUK) is a UK charity supporting more than 700 chaplains pastorally supporting the community of sport. Visit to find out more.