Crusaders for mental health


By Eddie McAteer, Student Sport Correspondent

Intramural rugby team, Clifton Crusaders, recently held a training session in support of mental health. They teamed up with the blog, So Happy In Town, to train wearing shirts raising awareness for mental health.

‘It’s okay to feel S.H.I.T’ say the t-shirts worn by players of Clifton Crusaders during their recent training session, as a reminder that it’s okay to not be okay. After one member of the team opened up about their experiences with mental health issues and the difficulties they pose, the team rallied around them, showing their support by wearing these t-shirts.

The t-shirts were worn by everyone at the training session | Josh Adam Jones

The player, who does not wish to be named, says he has struggled with his mental health for years and has made attempts on his own life in previous years. After a series of negative events reached boiling point, he realised that something needed to be done and so he contacted student health services and spoke to his GP. It was as a result of Instagram, often portrayed negatively in the media, that he came across So Happy In Town. Even as a proud Irishman, he still follows charismatic English rugby player, Joe Marler, on Instagram and noticed his promotion of the campaign ‘It’s okay to feel S.H.I.T'.

The campaign is run by a blog called So Happy In Town, that discusses all aspects of family life, including mental health. Having missed out on the first batch of t-shirts, he contacted the founder, Susie Weaver, about buying t-shirts for Crusaders to train in. Following a few conversations an order of 23 shirts was placed, a number that exceeded expectations. All proceeds went to YoungMinds and, so far, the campaign has raised over £7000 for the mental health charity.

Rugby has also played its part in helping with his mental health. Having initially played rugby at school and not enjoyed it, he rediscovered the sport whilst a fresher in Goldney. It felt like the first time he enjoyed playing rugby with people, as opposed to just playing the sport. The team spirit has only become stronger with time, as the team has been fully supportive of his decision to cut out alcohol. Lots of people feel that they need to drink to enjoy themselves on a night out, however, this has not been his experience. He still enjoys the social aspect and that is, at least in part, down to the fact that it is with friends. They do not feel like simply teammates, but friends that he happens to play rugby with.

Sports teams can be a great help for people that are struggling | Josh Adam Jones

Sports teams have an important part to play in mental health, be that supporting their teammates, or raising awareness, and this is not the first time that the Crusaders have been supportive of mental health. In November, as is common with many sports team, they participated in movember. By the end of the month they had raised £667 with all the money going to mental health charities. In addition to their work off the pitch, the team is also finding success on the pitch. They are currently top of the intramural rugby league and recently beat the university’s rugby league team 32-5.

Featured: Josh Adam Jones

Has your team also been supportive of mental health?