London Wasps and Mind launch charity partnership
Posted Wednesday 8 August 2012
A Mind poll has shown that people react positively to hearing elite athletes speaking about their mental health problems, with 58% of respondents believing that it encourages others to seek help for their own mental health problem. However, the survey also revealed that there are still some negative attitudes, with a sizeable minority of 12% of respondents thinking that sportsmen and women with a mental health problem should not be allowed to keep competing.
Mind’s poll of over 2,000 people found:
- 56% of respondents thought that hearing a professional sportsman or woman speaking about their mental health problem made them realise that successful people can have mental health problems too. The same percentage thought it was good that they were being open and honest.
- Over a third (37%) thought that the pressure of being in the spotlight put athletes at increased risk of developing mental health problems, with younger people more likely to think this was the case. When asked about the effects on a sportsperson of having a mental health problem, nearly half the respondents said that they would be likely to perform worse on the field (48%), while 45% thought they would be unable to train properly and 40% thought it would negatively affect team morale.
- If a sporting figure has a mental health problem, 52% think their family should be told and 48% their manager should be informed. Only 5% think fans should be told and just 2% think the media have a right to know.
These results come following a string of athletes from many different sports speaking openly about their mental health. From Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Flintoff in cricket to boxers Ricky Hatton and Frank Bruno and rugby’s own Duncan Bell and Jonny Wilkinson, mental health has never been more prominent in professional sport.
Recent research from New Zealand has also demonstrated the importance of focusing on mental health in rugby, with a 2011 survey by the New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) finding that 1 in 3 rugby players will experience depression, anxiety or stress once they retire from the game.
This partnership, which will run for two-years, will involve London Wasps displaying Mind’s logo on their shirts as well as supporting the charity’s fundraising activities.
Mind will help London Wasps to support the psychological wellbeing of their players, by holding mental health training courses for their coaching staff and playing squad. This work also ties in with the work the RPA is doing to promote its mental health support service for all players.
Speaking about the partnership, London Wasps’ Director of Rugby Dai Young said:
In a high pressure environment such as professional rugby, positive mental health plays an important role in the lives of players and coaches. We’re very pleased to be part of this charity partnership which will allow us to raise awareness of a crucial issue.
Mind Chief Executive Paul Farmer said:
I am delighted that London Wasps will be supporting Mind over the next two years. Mental health has never been higher on the agenda for professional sport and it is clear that hearing sportsmen and women being so open about mental health is a positive development.
The mental health of players is equally as important as their physical health so it is hugely welcome that both Wasps and the RPA are working on providing help and support for any player experiencing a mental health problem.
RPA Rugby Manager David Barnes said:
This pioneering partnership between London Wasps and Mind is fantastic for the players and for the game. It is so encouraging to see a club putting players’ welfare, mental and physical, first.
The RPA looks forward to working alongside Mind as we continue to educate players about mental health issues and provide a confidential counselling service for RPA members through LPP Consulting. This ensures players have support in every area of their life, both during and after their rugby careers.
If you would like to take part in raising awareness about mental health, visit our Get Involved pages today!