Gibraltar FA Club Assistance Programme & Mental Health First Aid Officer

in Sport Insight

CAP aims to raise awareness and to provide help to players and club personnel who may be suffering from mental health and behavioural issues through a confidential counselling service deigned to assist individuals in making fundamental and positive changes in their way of thinking, feeling, and behaving. 

As well as counselling sessions, CAP will also provide the opportunity for each club to appoint a Mental Health First Aid Officer. Once appointed, this person would receive training by Club House Gibraltar funded by the Gibraltar FA and importantly, the role of the Club Mental Health First Aid Officer will become a mandatory part of the Domestic Club Licensing Regulations as from season 2023/24.

Furthermore, the Gibraltar FA will also be providing mental health awareness courses, which all club coaches will be encouraged to attend, aimed at training coaches and staff members to spot the signs of any potential behavioural and mental health issues in players of all ages.  

The Gibraltar FA is ready to enrol individuals on these courses, which will be valid for three 3 years, when refresher courses will be on offer to renew certifications.

The CAP programme will also be used as part of the reintegration process for any players or club officials who have received large suspensions for offences they have committed on the field of play. More details of this part of the programme will be published in the Gibraltar FA’s Disciplinary Regulations in due course. 

General Secretary Ivan Robba commented:

Statistically one in four people experience mental health issues, meaning that within the Gibraltarian footballing community, there is likely to be a significant number of individuals who are suffering. 

We, as an Association, are determined to use football as a force for good in our community and we a are committed to helping our members, our players, our coaches and all of our clubs’ staff and representatives as much as we can. With the launch of our CAP, if anyone is in unfortunate need of such help the right framework is now in place for individuals to receive confidential and professional help and assistance.”  

The Gibraltar FA’s Human Resources Manager, Julian Valverde has been instrumental in setting up this project and added:  

“Mental health has always been very much of a taboo topic in society. Having experienced issues myself I know first-hand how lonely one can feel whilst suffering We all have our own demons that we sometimes battle silently. If there is one piece of advice I can give anyone is that you are not alone, support is out there, and talking about it really does help.  This is essentially why we have introduced CAP, to offer footballers in Gibraltar somewhere private and confidential to turn to if they find themselves in need of help, support or someone to open up to.”

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