Erasmus+ Sport project launched to foster mental wellbeing in sport

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

The Sport and Psycho-social Initiative for Inclusive Training (SPIRIT) project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme, has officially begun!

Mental illnesses are some of the most prominent health problems in the world today, directly affecting up to 25% of the world population. People that have endured trauma, such as refugees, are even more likely to experience mental health issues. From 2-4 March 2020, project partners from across Europe came together in Brussels to mark the start of the SPIRIT Project.

The project and its partners have ambitious objectives to challenge normalised practices in organised sport environments which are harmful to the mental wellbeing of their participants. Through research and then the development and implementation of practical resources – SPIRIT will empower sport clubs and coaches to deliver more humane coaching which nurtures mental wellbeing and will ultimately make sport in Europe more inclusive. Key outputs to expect include a review of research on sport and mental health; a mapping of good practices; a set of recommendations for sport clubs; a coaching framework; and an online education tool which will be made accessible for practicing and aspiring coaches around the world to make sure their coaching protects mental wellbeing.

As Project Coordinator, ENGSO organised the project’s first meeting, bringing together key representatives from an excellent consortium of partners with expertise in sports research, sport delivery, mental health, inclusive sport and the inclusion of migrants and refugees.

Project partners:

Important discussions on this challenging topic, some key decisions and great work has already taken place to mark the productive beginnings of what is set to be a strong collaboration for real and much needed change.

Participants of the kick-off meeting
Participants of the kick-off meeting

Back row, from top left: Simon Plasschaert (Flanders Sports Agency); Gijs Vercoutere (Minor-Ndako); Georgi Petrov Natov (BUPCS); Johannes Parkkonen (MIELI); Sakis Kostaris (Hellenic Paralympic Committee); Milena de Murga (UFEC); Claudia Nystrand (Monaliiku); Vanessa Mill (UFEC); Detlef Dumon (ICSSPE). Front row, from left: Kaisa Larjomaa (ENGSO); Sinikka Kaakkuriniemi (MIELI); Essi Honkonen (Monaliiku); Rachel May (ENGSO); Carole Ponchon (ENGSO); Rowan Fajerman (ITTFF).