Mental health in sport is not widely understood and this needs to change. Prior to Covid’s relentless disruption, we were aware of the lack of support and acceptance around mental health in sport. In fact, 63% of student-athletes reported a mental health concern that impacts their ability to perform. As if that is not alarming enough, only 10% get help (Kern et al. 2017).
Let us put that into perspective. 7.2 million people experience a mental health concern during any given year in Canada. Of that 7.2 million, 1.5 million report not receiving proper mental health care (Canadian Mental Health Association, 2018). Ultimately, 11% of Canadians report unmet mental health care needs compared to a staggering 53% of athletes. Our young people are facing the worst mental health crisis ever and we haven’t even scratched the surface of what 2020 and 2021 have done.
Put your money where your health is
It’s that time of year where decisions need to be made. You’ve been given your budget and have the opportunity to invest in your athletes and programs. There has never been a more important time in history, particularly in the history of sport, to seriously consider the impact of mental health and to contemplate how you intend to support your athletes and programs. You have the unique opportunity to put the wellness of athletes ahead of all else while also improving programs and participation.
When you support the mental health of your athletes
you improve the lives of individuals.
The sporting community has remarkable reach and influence on the world around it. Normalizing mental health, embracing a philosophy of support and embedding it in the culture demonstrates to those watching that it is not something to be ashamed of. Talking about mental health should be as natural as talking about physical health. Sport has the power and ability to take this on. To change the lives of not only athletes but all individuals.
Is it worth it?
Of course it's worth it from a mental health perspective, but you already know that. So, let's take a look from a financial perspective instead.
Organizations with mental health programs in place for one year had a median annual ROI of $1.62 for every dollar invested. For organizations with programs in place for three or more years, the median annual ROI is valued at $2.18 for every dollar spent. Greater program ROI occurred by prioritizing investing in higher impact areas such as organizational leadership and prevention (Deloitte, 2019). When it comes to mental health there is no greater initiative than one of prevention.
IS ONE OF YOUR ATHLETES STRUGGLING?
Watch psychotherapists and Hone founders, Jessica Renney and Paula McQuaid, in this informative webinar as they discuss how you can be a source of support to those who are struggling.