Everybody has mental health which, like physical health, can change throughout our lives. Playing sport does not make athletes immune to mental health challenges. One in four individuals will experience a mental health problem each year, so it should not come as a surprise that athletes will experience these issues too.
Within sport, there is now a great appetite for addressing these issues. If you’re experiencing mental health problems or need urgent mental health support, seek advice from your GP. You can also find guidance on the England Athletics website which has a section dedicated to athlete and club mental health that includes contact details for mental health support lines.
Athletes in the UK Athletics World Class Programme (WCP) can access support through services delivered by Cognacity and BUPA.
Athletes representing England, but who do not benefit from support through the World Class Programme, can also access mental health services and support through UKA’s appointment of Priory Healthcare.
Non-programme athletes can access a clear self-referral signposting system through to a nationwide network of mental health expertise via the Priory’s Wellbeing Centres and Hospitals. Whilst athletes are still advised to seek referral via their GP in the first instance, there is a recognition that pressures on GPs and the NHS mean that athletes may need to seek access to a private referral system both promptly and confidentially.
England Athletics has formed a new working relationship with Believe Perform to help support the mental health of the athletics and running community. New online resources designed by Believe Perform’s sports psychology and mental health experts are being provided for athletes, coaches and parents.
England Athletics will offer 1,600 Believe Perform resource licences for coaches and athletes on the senior, junior and youth talent programmes. These licences will be rolled out in due course. Click here for more information.