Rugby star gives mental well-being advice

BY JAMES TWOMEY
james@slpmedia.co.uk

England rugby legend Matt Dawson made an appearance at a university to play some tag rugby and give a talk on mental health and well-being.

The rugby star, who won the World Cup with England in 2003, gave a talk to students at Greenwich University as the Health and Well-being Ambassador for university partner Sodexo, which provides facilities management and catering services at the university.

Matt Dawson said: “The University of Greenwich has done a wonderful job when it comes to mental health awareness, not just in their health and well-being day, but also in the individuals talking about it.

“The education of pupils and lecturers on health and well-being is right up there on the agenda, and I don’t think you could ask for anything more.”

Matt Dawson in action during the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final

Matt then gave advice to students about their health and mental well-being. He said: “Don’t get too complex, pick something really simple and absolutely nail it.

“It could be the gym and keeping yourself healthy or tuning in and doing some mental agility and training. Or you could focus on your diet. Pick something and really nail it.”

The visit coincided with University Mental Health and Well-being Day, which encourages students and staff to take better care of their well-being, with more than 60 events across three campuses ranging from yoga and tai chi to a jewellery workshop as well as lots of information, advice and drop-in centres.

David Maguire, vice-chancellor of the University, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Matt Dawson to the university and show him our fantastic sporting facilities, as well as the work we’re doing in supporting the health and well-being of our staff and students. We have recently invested £1.7m in new sports facilities and we’re keen to engage the whole student community in sport and physical activity, not just those that play at a competitive level, especially as there’s a proven link between regular moderate physical activity and better mental health.”

By 2022 the university has committed to a set of initiatives including access to a well-being or advice service within two working days, a team of trained and supported student peer mentors and comprehensive mental health first aid training for academic staff, student supporting roles and managers.

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