Sports and physical activity initiatives

Chelsea team being trained by MHF staff in the box

Explore our work in sports


At the Mental Health Foundation, we've been working through sport to help support good mental health. Our work has particularly focused on supporting sports organisations who invest in communities at higher risk of developing mental ill-health.

We have harnessed our expertise to create guides, workshops, training and mentoring to equip a broad range of organisations. Our work focuses on training those who work with young people at risk, this includes:


Organisations we've worked with:

Logos for Chelsea FC, Hitz Premiership Rugby, Bloomsbury Football, Wales Netball, Loose Headz andCardiff City FC,

Bloomsbury Football, Cardiff City FC Community Foundation, Chelsea Foundation, Fulham FC Foundation, LooseHeadz, Premier League Charitable Fund, Premiership Rugby Hitz Program, The RFU (Rugby Football Union), Wales Netball and Wolverhampton Wanderers Foundation.

Trauma-informed relationship training

Our trauma-informed relationship training is an engaging, practical and evidence-based course, aimed specially at sport staff who might work with children and young people who've experienced trauma. The training helps staff members to: 

  • understand trauma and its impact
  • recognise the signs of trauma in people they work with
  • intervene through the use of self
  • prevent retraumatisation, and
  • take care of themselves.
Trauma-informed resource booklet with Jenga and card games

We deliver two types of courses for trauma-informed relationship training. To see some of the impact of our training watch the video below.

Intro: Creating Safe Spaces in a Sport Context

3-hour long course introducing participants to key concepts in Creating Safe Spaces in a Sport Context.

Longer-term: Creating Safe Spaces in a Sport Context

14 hours, split across in person and online sessions over approximately 4 months. This enables an organisation to develop their culture alongside the course, and measure the training impact.

‘Head in the Game’ mentoring programme

Between 2021 and 2023, we worked alongside Cardiff City FC Community Foundation (CCCF) to support them in building upon their existing mentoring work to develop the ‘Head in the Game’ project. This project allowed CCCF mentors to support young people with their wellbeing. The project has successfully delivered targeted one-to-one mentoring work and group sessions, to young people aged 8 to 25, who have been referred internally and from organisations such as schools, colleges and Youth Justice services.

We are now piloting a mentoring resource more widely across the whole organisation, enabling more staff to have the opportunity from other departments and more young people to benefit. The staff are provided with training and the resource which we have developed together.  Please [email protected] if you’d be interested utilising a young people’s mentoring programme in your sport for development work.

Training the trainers in the stands of a stadium

Water break top tips

We have developed 10-minute practical and fun psychoeducation activities which can be used as a part of a sport or activity session.  These water break activities are particularly beneficial for participants where short and engaging input is most impactful.  

These resources have been used successfully with people whose second language is English and young people who are not in education, employment or training. 

These activities include topics such as recognising and managing emotions, talking to people we trust, and sleep.

Chelsea trainers discussing trauma-informed approaches
Staff take part in the Chelsea Foundation Disability Day on the grass pitches

Organisational consultancy and staff mentoring

We have worked with sport organisations working in the community to equip and encourage staff both collectively and individually as they deliver mental health and wellbeing programmes.  This support has varied from bespoke evidence-based resources, to facilitating staff meetings and mentoring* staff.

*this is not clinical supervision.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2024

The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 is 'Movement: Moving more for our mental health'.

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Read our guide

Read our research-backed guide on looking after your mental health using exercise.

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