9 steps: Ways England’s top flight clubs are improving mental health for players and fans

March 13 – Mental health has become a critical issue in today’s footballing landscape with the growing recognition across the game that it is as important as physical health.  This is still relatively new, following decades of an unhealthy emphasis on bottling up emotions. It is a habit that is gradually being deconstructed with England’s top flight clubs increasingly at the forefront of a revision of attitudes.

Football has historically been a more masculine arena, with discussions of mental health and emotional wellbeing were few and far between. New generations of players are showing they are increasingly keen to use their huge platforms to change this perception and show fans of all genders and ages that it is okay to talk about mental health.

Partnering With Mental Health Charities

Many clubs have chosen to partner with mental health charities in an effort to bring mental health to the forefront of public attention. This has provided many clubs with valuable partnerships and access to the best help and resources to improve mental health for their players and fans alike. In turn, the partnerships have helped mental health charities reach a wider audience and help bring awareness of issues faced by more people across the UK.

Providing Sports Psychologists Services

Having psychologists and other mental health professionals on hand for their players has been a major trend in recent years. Some clubs bring a team of mental health professionals in-house, while others encourage players to find professionals that suit them and provide funding for their services.

Top-flight football is a high-pressure environment, and without proper mental health care, players are at risk of burnout or other mental health issues. By providing mental health care in their workplace, football clubs are taking critical steps to help players maintain good mental health.

Being Open About Mental Health On Social Media

Social media can be a powerful tool in helping to spread important messages. While it has been linked to poor mental health itself, there is no denying that social media can raise awareness of issues. Many top-flight players have used their considerable influence on social media to help promote mental health online by sharing their own experiences or participating in concerted social media campaigns to raise awareness.

Encouraging Mental Health Boosting Hobbies

One of the most important things for mental health is having a well-rounded, enriching life. For players and fans alike, this means ensuring that they have things in their life other than just football. Having a wide range of hobbies can be invaluable for your mental health, and encouraging other interests has been an effective way for people to manage mental health conditions and prevent burnout.

Hobbies like crafts or artwork are popular among footballers and fans. Gaming is another great hobby, whether using a console or a more old-school game like slots or poker. You can explore Online Casinos to find some great gaming options.

Promoting The Use Of Mental Wellbeing Tools

Many top-flight clubs have taken up different tools to promote mental health and wellbeing in their players. This includes things like meditation apps, social media management tools, and fitness trackers. These are tools that fans can also use to promote stress relief and relaxation. Finding everyday tools that can benefit mental health can be invaluable to maintaining your wellbeing.

Helping Players Navigate Retirement

Retirement can be a highly stressful time for football players, and many professionals aren’t sure of their next steps following retirement. Coaching and commentating are popular next steps for footballers, but the number of positions available is significantly fewer than the number of players that retire over the years.

Finding something fulfilling to do after a successful football career can be difficult, and many former players have struggled with their mental health as a result. Clubs are now taking steps to help players transition into retirement and give them advice and training on possible roles to take in the future, even outside of the football industry.

Demonstrating The Importance Of Diet And Exercise

Top-flight footballers are at peak physical fitness throughout their careers, and the benefits of strong physical health have been linked to stronger mental health. By sharing exercise and meal plans with fans, footballers can empower people to take control of their physical health and reap the mental health benefits that come with it.

Following footballers’ modified diet and fitness plans have become popular in recent years. It is important to remember that fans should avoid trying to emulate a player’s regimen too closely, as the intensity required for a professional athlete is not necessary for most regular people.

Addressing Social Media Difficulties

Social media has been a source of mental health issues for people of all ages, and football players are no exception. Younger players, in particular, have experienced difficulties with social media interactions with fans, often facing online abuse. Liverpool became the first team in early 2022 to bring on a therapist specifically to help younger players deal with online criticism or abuse. It is clear to see the impact that facing online abuse can cause for even hugely successful young players.

Preventing Burnout

Burnout can impact people from all walks of life and careers. Burnout is a significant risk for footballers and can be caused by the pressure of expectations from fans, coaches and executives. Managing stress and having a healthy work-life balance is critical for anyone who wants to avoid burnout. Various top-flight clubs have put different measures in place to prevent burnout.

Conclusion

Mental health in sports has come a long way in the past 20 years. Discussing difficulties and emotions is becoming more accepted, and people feel more able to reach out to those around them to get the help they need. Top-flight clubs have shown commitment by partnering with mental health charities, having roundtable mental health discussions, and hiring mental health professionals for their players. This has had a knock-on effect on sports fans, particularly of the younger generation, who consider many of the top-flight players as role models.

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