Government action plan to tackle mental health for elite athletes

Government action plan to tackle mental health for elite athletes

A Mental Health and Elite Sport Action Plan has been announced by the government. It builds upon the 2015 "Sporting Future" strategy which highlighted the importance of welfare and wellbeing in elite sport, as well as recognising the impact that sport has on physical and mental health. The new action plan announced yesterday has been developed out of discussions held by the Minister for Sport through 2017 with mental health and sports organisations. The key points raised in these discussions included clarity of support available, sharing of best practise across the sport sector, and improved mental health education and training in sport. 

The plan is being run in partnership with UK Sport, Sport England, Professional Player Associations, The Sport and Recreation Alliance and mental health charity Mind, and covers the following actions:

1. To establish a high standard of mental health support in elite sport, by implementing a new mental health strategy. 

2. To ensure mental health support is available, and parity with physical health promoted, at every stage of the talent pathway.

3. To ensure that the support provided by the Player Associations to their members continues to represent best practice.

4. To integrate mental health support content into formal and informal learning opportunities for sport coaches and performance support staff at all levels.

5. To produce and disseminate specific sport related resources to support the implementation of the Thriving at Work recommendations across the sector. 

6. To encourage the sharing of good practice across the sport sector. 

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said:

"We know that sport has a very positive impact on people’s mental health and can help in their recovery. But when sport is your job, the immense pressure to succeed can become too much. This Action Plan sets out how Government, sports and mental health organisations can work together to give athletes the right support before they reach crisis point.Progress has been made to break down the stigma around mental health and this plan underlines our commitment to tackling this important issue in sport. It will help create a stronger industry where our elite sports men and women can continue to thrive and inspire future generations."

The full details of the plan can be found here.

The press release can be found here