• Sectors we work in banner(2)

    Quick Reads

TOKYO 2020 AND BEYOND - IT'S GOOD TO TALK, BUT IT IS TIME FOR POSITIVE ACTION ON MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health has been much talked about of late, none more so than in the wake of the global pandemic. This is, of course, a welcome and positive step forward. 

Within the context of sport, it is encouraging to see major sports personalities talk about their mental health struggles openly; for too long, mental well-being has not been given the same billing as those physical injuries, which everyone can see and are often more obvious.

Thanks to sports personalities such as Adam Peaty, Simone Biles and Ben Stokes there is a growing awareness of the fragile balance that must be maintained by those performing at the elite level of sport. One thinks of gruelling training regimes, little time off and carrying the weight of expectation imposed not only by the athletes themselves but perhaps by their family and friends, the nation they represent and the wider viewing public.

It is heartening to see progress being made in relation to physical head injuries (which often fall into the category of physical injuries that cannot be seen) and the long-term effects of these. Measures have been put in place about how many headers football players are able to make in a week and contact sports have been ramping up efforts to detect and mitigate head injuries for some years now.

Isn’t it now time to do the same for mental health? Support is growing for the need to recognise and manage mental health issues, but perhaps firmer and more uniform measures need to be introduced. Such measures would include putting support mechanisms in place and ensuring that the correct clinical advice is available to those that need it. However, whilst it is common at the elite level to use sports psychologists to assist performance (and this doubtless has a positive side effect in managing pressure etc.), a less performance-driven approach to athlete mental wellbeing is needed. Essentially, in the same way that a player with a lingering muscle injury might be given time to rest and recover so as not to exacerbate it, participants who are dealing with mental health challenges should be afforded the same opportunity.

Whilst recognising that the highest the level of competition, generally speaking, brings the highest level of pressure, hopefully these measures would also trickle down the pyramid to those competing at lower levels within sport. Stokes, Peaty and Biles are global icons in their sport - less highly regarded athletes might not feel they have the position in their sport (or the financial security) to take a break for mental health reasons.

For too many years our athletes and sports people have suffered in silence. It seems that the stigma relating to talking about mental health is lifting (thanks in no small part to the high-profile sports personalities mentioned above). However, now that we are all talking about it, let’s take positive action to address the issue.

The Olympics marked a watershed moment for mental health in sport - now we need to build on it

Our thinking

  • From Manchester to the Metaverse: How United’s Roblox Rollout Could Help Drive Fan Engagement

    Shennind Awat-Ranai

    Insights

  • Game On for Hong Kong’s Sports Arbitration

    Patrick Chan

    Insights

  • Darren Bailey and Frédéric Jeannin write for City AM on geopolitical risk and challenges posed to Paris by staging the Olympic Games

    Darren Bailey

    In the Press

  • Nick White and Sarah Johnson write for City AM on how Rule 40 affects marketing around the 2024 Olympic Games

    Nick White

    In the Press

  • Divorce called off: McIlroy reconciles on the eve of the US open

    Sophia Leeder

    Quick Reads

  • Charles Russell Speechlys advises on the acquisition of Wycombe Wanderers Football Club

    Keir Gordon

    News

  • Charles Russell Speechlys grows its rankings in The Legal 500 EMEA directory

    Frédéric Jeannin

    News

  • Charles Russell Speechlys hosts international arbitration event in Dubai

    Peter Smith

    Quick Reads

  • The Paul Pogba Ban - what happens now?

    Danielle Sharkey

    Quick Reads

  • Charles Russell Speechlys ‘Client Conversations’ welcomes one of the best strikers of all time and greatest players in Premier League history, Alan Shearer CBE

    Simon Ridpath

    News

  • Client Conversations Podcast: Alan Shearer CBE

    Simon Ridpath

    Podcasts

  • Richard Davies writes for City AM on the lessons that the Premier League can learn from the Super Bowl and NFL

    Richard Davies

    In the Press

  • Fortune quotes Richard Davies on sponsorship deals and the strength of brand/supporter loyalty in football

    Richard Davies

    In the Press

  • Danielle Sharkey and Daniel McDonagh write for City AM on sports cases that could define 2024

    Danielle Sharkey

    In the Press

  • EU AI Act – Will it become a law for all the world?

    Nick White

    Quick Reads

  • Ctrl + GCC: The Rise of e-Sports in the Gulf

    Mark Hill

    Quick Reads

  • The status of transgender and intersex athletes in international sports federations

    Pierre Bydzovsky

    Insights

  • Driving Growth & Innovation with Pan-African Sports Industry Leaders

    Adrian Mayer

    Quick Reads

  • FM Industry quotes Ben Butterworth on the use of private capital investment to fund football stadium renovations

    Ben Butterworth

    In the Press

  • Owen Chan and Charlotte O'Connor write for Law in Sport on UK Football Visas

    Owen Chan

    In the Press

Back to top