World Mental Health Day: Jenny Ferguson is the new voluntary mental health officer at Dundee Rugby

Gary Heatly

World Mental Health Day on October 10 is a day to talk about mental health and show everyone that mental health matters. It’s also a day to let people know that it’s okay to ask for help, no matter what you’re going through…

Jenny Ferguson has felt a great sense of community and belonging since she started to play a new sport this summer and she has now taken up a role as voluntary mental health officer with Dundee Rugby.

A few months ago, Ferguson, who works in suicide prevention away from the pitch, took up rugby for the first time and she has been loving becoming part of the Dundee Valkyries and the wider club at Mayfield.

“Since first joining the Valkyries via a ‘come and try’ session in July I have been amazed at the sense of community that there is within the club and also within rugby in general,” Ferguson explained.

“Everyone really supports each other and everyone comes to the sport at different times of their lives for different reasons, but we are all there because we want to be part of something.

“On my first day at training someone gave me a pair of boots and two sessions in someone told me that ‘as soon as you step on the pitch you are one of us and a Valkyrie’. That meant a lot and that sense of belonging in life is important.

“Whether you are a new player like me or someone more experienced who has aspirations to play at a higher level, we are all part of the same club and we are all humans facing up to issues from time-to-time, so the more we can be a supportive ear for one another the better.”

Mental health in sport is an important topic and Ferguson is looking forward to getting stuck into her new role as voluntary mental health officer and making a difference.

“I am excited to see how I can support the incredible community within Dundee Rugby and I want to help us all feel confident and comfortable around this topic,” she explained.

“In my day job I work suicide prevention, with prevention being the keyword. Creating hope and a sense of community is front and centre of that.

“Mental health isn’t about being unwell, we all have mental health. Keeping it in check is very much the same as conditioning our bodies physically to help us become better rugby players.

“We need to condition our minds and I’m looking forward to working with everyone at Dundee Rugby to see how we can best do that going forward throughout the rest of this season.”

More information on World Mental Health Day here

A version of this article first appeared in The Courier hard copy on September 28