Mental Health In Elite Sport​

Speaking at Mind’s ‘Mental Health in Elite Sport’ launch, Olympic swimming champion, Adam Peaty, has joined the charity Mind in a call for more mental health support for the Nation’s sporting heroes. He is the current Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European Champion in the 100m breaststroke. He discussed the specific pressures that elite sportsmen and women within sport can face.

He explained that “being an elite athlete brings with it huge amounts of pressure and expectation. From my own experience I know that to be at the top of your game you need to have the best support possible for both your physical and your mental health.” This highlighted that in order to reach the top of your game, it is absolutely essential for athletes to have support for both physical and mental health. The milestone report was funded by Asics, as part of its charity partnership with Mind. This expands on Mind’s 2014 findings, which implied that athletes may tend to suffer in silence, in order to prevent their careers being put in jeopardy.

Specific areas were highlighted in which additional support is needed. This includes but is not limited to help to manage social media abuse, tackling and confronting stigma, support for athletes suffering from more severe forms of mental health including but not limited to psychosis, eating disorders and suicide, and support for the coaches.

Mind have been working for over two decades to improve mental health in sport. From 2000, former footballer Tony Adams setup Sporting Chance, with support from the Professional Footballers Association (PFA). In 2011, the launched their Player Welfare Department, aiming to give private and confidential emotional support to former and current members. In 2013 a 24-hour telephone counselling helpline was launched, and in 2014 the Performance Matters In Elite Sport was launched.