Wednesday, 12 May 2021 19:53

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and I wanted to share the CARE coaching model with everyone in our club. 

Care: to protect someone or something; to pay attention; to avoid risk; to feel concern; to take interest; to attach importance to something.

UK Coaching use the CARE model for promoting mental health through coaching. CARE stands for Coaching Skills, Awareness, Respect and Empathy. These are things a coach can use in their sessions to help participants. However, they can also apply to the participants themselves, especially in a club environment such as martial arts, where we work with each other to achieve our goals. 

Below, I'll outline suggestions for how coaches, black belts and participants can use the CARE model regardless of age or ability. 

C - Coaching Skills: 

We can: 

Be welcoming and introduce themselves to new members.

Help a lower grade walk through their pattern before or after class.

Talk about mental health. Being open about our own mental health can help others do the same.

Offer alternatives. Advice participants to adapt the session as they need to.

Show easier (or harder) versions of exercises and offer tips for how they learned a particular technique. 

A - Awareness: 

We can:

Ask 'How are you?' And listen to the answer.

Look out for symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Have emergency contacts and know who to call if a participant needs help.

If someone opens up about mental health, ask if there is anything you can do during class to make things easier.

Training partners can check in with each other before exercises.

Don't assume your partner is ready for hard sparring or comfortable with contact. 

R - Respect: 

We can:

Be polite and remember the tenets of taekwon-do. 

Be friends outside of the dojang.

It's okay to ask questions, but be kind and respectful when doing so. Avoid intrusive questions.

If someone opens up to you, don't repeat when they have said unless they ask you to. (You should break confidentiality if you fear someone is a risk to themselves or others, or a child is involved.) 

E - Empathy: 

We can: 

Encourage training buddies to seek help if they need it. (GP, parents / teachers, Samaritans, NSPCC etc)

Protect our own mental health by understanding we don't have to know what to say, or what to do, or where to find a magic answer. Listening is enough.

See the individual not their diagnosis: Labels are for jam jars - not people! 

The global pandemic has been a very trying and challenging time for us all, and it has affected us in vastly different ways. But one positive I've noticed is how more aware we are of the importance of mental well-being and how many more of us can speak about the challenges facing us. Recently, a few club members have inspired me with how honest and open they have been. Take care, everyone, and have an educational Mental Health Awareness Week.