THE Can Bou Play Foundation and Mindology Trinidad have teamed up to launch the Sport In Mind – mental health programme which ushers in a new era on how mental health is approached in TT and how sport can operate as a great tool to tackle various mental challenges and the stigma attached to the mental health discussion.
Alexandria Olton of Mindology Trinidad, a sport psychological practice, needed little convincing in partnering with Can Bou Play for this initiative and believes that in the face of mounting societal pressures, youth can find a healthy tonic from sport, especially when its guided. “Sport for me was always an escape from the stresses of my academic and work-life. A solace, a mental break that provided a sense of fulfilment and belonging,” proclaimed Olton. “The Sport In Mind programme aims to provide the very solace and escape I found within my own sporting career, to the young people of our society today.”
Sport In Mind will run every Wednesday from 4-6 pm at the Ultimate Indoor Facility in Aranguez. It will provide a safe and welcoming space for adolescents to participate in a multitude of sports (primarily football) with highly qualified technical coaches; provided by the Can Bou Play Foundation, and engage in one to one and group discussions, workshops and idea sharing spaces with sport psychologist Olton. The target demographic of the programme is adolescents 15 years and older and is free to participants. Olton continued, “The impact sport and exercise can have on one’s mental wellbeing is so beneficial that the Royal College of Psychiatrists recognise exercise prescription as a form of treatment for a wide range of mental health conditions.” Feature speaker at the launch, President of the TT Association of Psychologists, Dr Margaret Nakhid-Chatoor echoed Olton’s sentiments and was extremely pleased with the approach taken by the Sport In Mind team to remedy these pervasive issues. “The TT Association for Psychologists welcomes this initiative, Sport In Mind,” stated Dr Nakhid-Chatoor. The Sport In Mind programme will run for an initial five month period from September 2019 to January 2020 with students from the San Juan/Barataria/Aranguez catchment area as well as a contingent from the Tableland Sports Club, though more participants are welcomed. Can Bou Play CEO Amiel Mohammed urged more collaboration between sporting, governmental and corporate agencies to allow for programmes such as Sport In Mind to flourish.
“We can’t keep operating in silos. Through true and honest collaboration we could really make a difference. The puzzle that I invited everyone to assemble here today represents just that. Everyone has their own unique piece to add to the larger puzzle to make it great.”
“Can Bou Play is truly proud of our collaboration with Mindology and having great partnerships with Creamery Novelties (Hadco), Dairy Distributors Limited, Republic Bank, Agility Sports, HD Media and of course the Ultimate Indoor Facility for Sport In Mind.”
“Everything is a cycle. When our founders and coaches come to the SIM sessions they are also going to learn from Alexandria and that would only improve their skillsets to be used when they then go out to our outreaches in communities, schools, differently-abled institutes etc,” Mohammed concluded.