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  • Alex Mills

World Mental Health Day: People in sport should treat mental health as equal to physical health

Today is World Mental Health day, which brings the subject of mental health to the forefront of people's minds for 24 hours. The fact that it is a 'subject' that requires such awareness raising activity tells us that it is something that is not prioritised enough.

This year's theme, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is 'Mental Health in a Unequal World' - which focuses on the inequality of access to good mental services for people in different demographics.

It is true that this disparity exists and we at Sporting Chance welcome this important theme and focus.

Our work is in a unique sector, professional sport, but we hope that by serving this sector with our mental health services, we are playing a small part in helping to lower waiting times and increase access potential for the rest of the general public.

In sport, as in society, mental health is often further down the agenda than physical health - both personally and institutionally. While great strides have been made, certainly in the last couple of decades since Sporting Chance was born, our mission to achieve parity between mental health and physical health in sport continues.

We are proud to provide professional mental health services to twenty different stakeholders across several sports. These partnerships give professional sportspeople immediate access to our helpline, a consultation within 48 hours, therapy with a practitioner close to their home or place of work or - in some cases relating to addiction - a residential stay at our bespoke rehabilitation clinic. All of these services are fully confidential. We also provide education to sportspeople and organisations on a range of mental health and lifestyle themes.

Most clubs have their own welfare or wellbeing departments these days, a development which we welcome and are doing more than ever to help players look after their mental health. However, when this is compared to the focus, funding and awareness people in sport put into physical health, it creates a greatly unbalanced picture.

The question we would like people in sport to consider today, and every day, is do you prioritise mental health in the same way you prioritise physical health?

It is imperative that this shift happens, in society and in (perhaps even led by) sport.

Sporting Chance is available for current and potentially new stakeholders in professional sport to help you work toward this important goal.

Contact us here and let's make mental health more than a thought for a day.


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