Sale Sharks Player AJ MacGinty Supports Programme Tackling Mental Health Stigma

Sale Sharks community coaches are delivering the innovative ‘Head Guard’ project in Salford to young people aged 13 – 16 years old

Young people from Salford City Academy have been given the chance to work with experiences Sale Sharks community coaches to improve their mental wellbeing and to learn about how they deal with failure, use social media safely and channel their emotions in a positive manner.

The Head guard project, which is funded by BBC’s Children in Need is aimed at helping young people in the Salford area, understand the importance of resilience and good mental health.  This comes on the back of a recent survey carried out by the NHS which claims that one in four young people suffer from a mental health issue.

As part of the programme, the young people from Salford City Academy also got the opportunity to meet Sale Sharks and USA international rugby player AJ MacGinty.  AJ attended the session on positive use of social media to talk about his own tips for the safe use of social media, how to deal with internet trolls and the positives of using social media at a younger age.

Speaking at the event, AJ MacGinty, said,

“It is fantastic to see first-hand the work the Trust are doing in the local community. Head Guard is an exciting programme that addresses issues that young people face early on in their life. Mental wellbeing is something that I am passionate about and this project fits well with the programmes that Sharks Community Trust deliver across the North West which have a positive impact on the lives of thousands of young people.

Des Howlett, Education Manager at Sharks Community Manager said,

“Head Guard is an innovative new project that is being delivered by Sharks Community Trust in the Salford area and it will strengthen the work currently being done around mental well-being. As a club, we pride ourselves on our commitment to ensure rugby can play its part in tackling social issues and we are hopeful about the impact that this project will have. It is an important topic in society that needs to be discussed more.”

For more information on the programme, please contact

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