by Dan Cope & Editor 

A CONFERENCE exploring mental health in sport is being organised by first year Sports Journalism students at the University of South Wales.

The event, which takes place at the USW Treforest Sport Park in Treforest is happening this Friday, February 9.

Among the guest speakers attending is Dr. Dai Lloyd AM who will give a keynote address. Dr. Lloyd is Chair of the National Assembly for Wales’ Health, Social Care and Sport Committee. Dr. Lloyd is also involved with mental health and well being as he is a member of the Mental Health Cross Party Group which discusses issues relating to mental health and well being in Wales.

Former Scarlets No.8 Rory Pitman is among the guest speakers. Pitman has been vocal about his mental health problems following his release from the west Wales outfit. He is keen to get people in sport, particularly rugby, talking about how they feel.

He told Wales Online : “To be honest, I didn’t know what to do with myself, everything I was doing just seemed like a vicious circle.

“My wife and my mam and dad would ask me if I was OK, I’d say yes, I’d nod, they would nod, but deep down I knew I wasn’t right. I had questions in my head like ‘what are you doing, and what are you going to do?”

Professor of Sport Coaching at USW, Dr Brendan Cropley and Paul Sellars, who is a research officer in Sports Psychology from Cardiff Metropolitan University will be speaking. They have recently conducted research into the mental health and well-being of coaches and will be discussing their findings. Dr. Cropley is also a lecturer in Sport Coaching and Sport Psychology. His expertise and contributions have been extremely significant in the field of Sports Psychology and he has also provided various consultancy services to athletes and coaches alike.

Another guest speaker is professional netball player Becky Oatley. Becky has talked openly about her experiences with mental health problems whilst playing netball. She is an ambassador for Time to Change Wales, for whom she writes blogs on the subject of mental health.

Safeguarding and behaviour expert Mike Armiger will share his experiences of working in the field of mental health in sport. Mike trains sports coaches and sporting organisations about mental health to help raise awareness. Mike is also regularly involved in mental health campaigns and often speaks at or organises events that focus on young people’s mental health.

Finally, student Abigail Davies will be involved with the conference. Abi is part of the campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues as an ambassador for BEAT, which is a charity that helps people with eating disorders.

For more details and information on the guest speakers or the conference itself please contact Callum Ellis @CallumJEllis or Dan Cope @Daniel_Cope14 or the conference Twitter @MHISConference

You can book your place via our Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/187785768621084/