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13 July 2023 - 13 July 2023

11:30AM - 2:00PM

Lindisfarne Centre, Durham

  • Free

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This award-winning presentation starts as a narrative of a young footballer growing up in the late 1980’s-early 1990’s, in the North East of England. It outlines the highs and lows of a footballer that didn’t quite ‘make it’, with reflection on how the effects of isolation, rejection and failure contributed to, and escalated to almost two decades of undiagnosed mental illness.

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boy with mouth taped

As the story continues, the presentation considers the role of ‘high performance’ environments such as professional sport, and latterly higher education and how such environments contribute to the mental health challenges faced by young people. Given that most mental disorders begin during youth (12–24 years of age), and remain undetected until later in life (Patel, Flisher, Hetrick, McGorry, 2007), the presentation outlines a research direction, which aims to highlight established challenges for young people and how mental health illness manifests further in adult life.

Finally, the presentation considers how positive mental health could be seen as a resource, if better understood by young people and nurtured by others. Adapting Henriksen, Schinke, Moesch, McCann, Parham, Larsen and Terry (2019) framework, the presentation will discuss the (1) importance of culture, (2) defining mental health in high performance environments, (3) developing specific metrics to monitor mental health, (4) considering mental health as an important resource, (5) further understanding the high-performance environment, and (6) developing organisational structures to break stigma around mental health disclosure