By James Docherty

TO start 2021, Penarth Rugby Club are launching an ambitious new mental health scheme in partnership with local charity Mind in the Vale.

Mental Health Mondays will see the club open its doors every Monday evening at 6pm as a safe space for anyone to come along and talk to trained mental health first aiders in a relaxed comfortable atmosphere to try and take the stigma away from mental health issues.

The rugby club is acutely aware of the dangers that mental health problems can cause and how difficult it can be for people, and in particular men, to take the first step to talk about their emotions and state of mind.

It is a well known fact that suicide is the biggest cause of death amongst men aged 20-49 in the UK and being aware of a number of such deaths in other local rugby clubs over the past few years Penarth RFC chairman Sean O’Sullivan was not willing to stand idle.

He said: “Mental health is a huge problem in society and particularly amongst young men. I felt that, as a club that prides itself on not only being a successful rugby club but also a community hub, we had a duty to try to be part of the solution rather than sit back and do nothing.”

The club provided funding for a number of its members to obtain a mental health first aid qualification, will make a mental health physio available to its members and have partnered with the local Mind organisation to develop their open door sessions.

“As well as our own trained mental health first aiders we have a range of information provided by Mind from their 'It takes balls to talk' initiative and have agreed a direct line of communication with a dedicated member of the Mind team who has over 30 years experience.

Anyone who comes along to our sessions will be offered the opportunity to speak to one of the highly trained professionals at Mind if they want to but there is no obligation.

Sean said: "This is a safe environment where we are offering a friendly non-judgmental ear to anyone who wants to talk about anything.”

The sessions will start, Covid restrictions permitted at 6pm on Monday, January 4, 2021 at Penarth Athletic Club and will run every Monday thereafter.

Everyone is welcome to attend and if anyone would like to be a part of what we are doing then do please get in touch.

Details are on the Penarth Rugby Club website: