“Now more than ever, we appreciate the strong community spirit at the heart of rowing”
Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 18-24 May. We find out how Rowing Together for Healthy Minds is supporting the community during the Covid-19 pandemic
In an exclusive guest column, the Rowing Together for Healthy Minds team provides an update for Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May) >>>
Thinking back to our first sessions of the 2020 rowing season, few could have imagined the exceptional set of challenges that lay ahead. Flooding put paid to early racing fixtures, and many clubs suffered devastating damage to boathouses and equipment. Since then, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we live and for many of us, rowing is an enormous part of that. It is no secret that the uncertainty and the restrictions imposed have led to an enormous impact on mental health.
Rowing Together for Healthy Minds (RTHM) was started in 2018, to bring the rowing community together and put mental health into focus in a big way. Since then, RTHM has engaged with over 140 rowing clubs across the UK and abroad, achieving the initial aim of bringing mental health into the spotlight at these clubs through our distinctive tech tops. Over 4,000 of these have been sold with all the profits going to Mind, our mental health charity partner.
For the first time in living memory, it is physically impossible for us to row together
One of the main aims of the campaign was to generate a feeling of solidarity within our community by sharing something so simple as an item of clothing. We hoped that crews from all clubs and backgrounds could be united by wearing the tops and show a universal opinion that we are willing to acknowledge the importance of mental health and well-being by rowing together. The fact is, right now we are facing an enormous mental challenge. For the first time in living memory, it is physically impossible for us to row together.
In order to support members of our community during the lockdown, RTHM has been working to produce a newsletter ‘Mental Strength’ featuring advice and support. The first edition, published 3 May, featured advice from Olympic silver medallist and GB rower Vicky Thornley, in which she highlights the importance of daily routine, a variation in training sessions and self-care. She finishes her piece with an important reminder that “this will end”.
This storm will pass, the shutters of our boathouses will unroll
Looking forward, RTHM has plans to continue to educate and inform athletes via social media platforms, including producing a wall poster for training areas containing information and advice as well as an innovative documentary project.
Just like physical fitness, building mental strength takes practice, determination and resilience. Although things are unsettled now, this storm will pass, the shutters of our boathouses will unroll, and we will take the first few strokes of a new season, together.
Now more than ever, we appreciate the strong community spirit at the heart of our sport.
If you would like to support the RTHM team in any capacity, we would love to hear from you, so please get in touch at [email protected].