With Mental Health at the Forefront of the Agenda, Are Football Clubs Lagging Behind?
It was recently announced that access to the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) mental health services by professional footballers increased by 160 from 2016 to 2018, with both former and current players seeking help.
But with more mental health specific policies, and the surrounding conversation, becoming more prominent, why is it that an increasing number of players appear to be suffering from poor mental health?
The PFA’s Head of Welfare, Michael Bennett, suggests that what the statistics actually show is that more players are seeking help, which he attributes to changing attitudes within the sport. If this is the case, it could be evidence of positive changes in players’ attitudes towards asking for help. This might represent a big step forward in opening up the conversation, particularly among young men.
With those most at risk being males under 35 (accounting for three-quarters of suicides in the UK), President of the FA, Prince William, has been calling for a change in the way players are treated, stressing the need to take better care of young players in particular. As one of the founders of mental health charity Heads Together, the Prince is bringing the agenda to the FA, citing plans for the association to put together a large scale mental health campaign.
With mental health being a significant public health issue on the 21st Century agenda initiatives and campaigns to raise awareness and offer support are beginning to go some way to address the ongoing issue.
For more information, why not check out our Mental Health Awareness course.