If you were asked to name a sports injury, what springs to mind? Broken bone, concussion, bruising, dislocated joint, muscular pull/strain.
But did you think of any non physical injuries that can affect those participating? Anxiety, depression, seasonal affective disorder, panic attacks, eating disorder.
Mental health in sport has often been overlooked but it is just as important as physical health. Fortunately in recent years there has been more focus on mental health in the media and the popularity of mindfulness colouring books and apps such as Headspace have helped raise awareness of the importance of mental health.
Statistics show that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. As individuals involved in taking part and organising sport and physical activity I feel we have a responsibility to gain an understanding, for ourselves and our participants, of some issues surrounding mental health.
“There is a great appetite to address mental health issues within sport and things are improving, but the support for athletes is nowhere near adequate. I believe sport can lead the way.” – Clarke Carlisle
Like Clarke Carlisle I believe sport can lead the way, I am urging us all to be proactive rather than reactive with regards to mental health. If we can gain a greater understanding of how and why positive and negative mental health affects those who participate in sport/physical activity that can only help us make being active more attractive.