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Posted in: General

Mental health article: Can you help?

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  • Blake

    Hello all, I am planning to write an article on mental health awareness, and how coaches can play a key role in spotting the signs/managing the effects of anxiety/depression/panic attacks and other mental health disorders in their athletes. Ideally, I would like to get some input from a member of the ConnectedCoaches community.

    There was a brilliant article in the summer issue of sports coach UK's Coaching Edge magazine that focused on therapeutic sessions that took away the pressure to do well. With exercise helping reduce the effects of anxiety and depression, the message was, getting active can help improve your mental well-being.

    But what about those players coaches work with who do compete, enjoy competing and want to continue competing? They don’t want their panic attacks or anxiety to mean the end of sporting rivalry.

    Have you suffered from a mental health issue yourself and would be willing to talk about it for the benefit of other coaches? Have you had to deal with the debilitating effects of mental illness in one of your athletes or feel you have something positive to contribute to the article?

    I want to get the message across that it needn’t be the end of your sporting journey, and that help is at hand.

    We all know that the ability to handle pressure can be the difference between success and failure. Someone who suffers from panic attacks, depression or anxiety must feel a severly heightened pressure. A coach who can spot the signs, offer some advice (even if it is simply someone to talk to) and help them get the help they need to alleviate the symptoms could make a huge difference to their well-being and also their chances of success.

    If you would be willing to feature in the article, please e-mail me at brichardson@coachwise.ltd.uk

  • AndrewGambrill

    I have an athlete who has recently written an article for an online magazine. I can share that with you or maybe you would want to talk with her directly?

  • StevieP

    Hi Blake

    A subject very close to my heart, happy to discuss in more detail if you want to send me a direct message



  • BarbAugustin

    Hi Blake.

    Not sure if it's exactly what you want, but I wrote an article a few years ago about my experience coaching an athlete with mental health issues. It was meant as a resource for coaches and lists organisations that they could contact. However, I'm in Australia so I don't think those links would be much good to you.

    If you want, I can email you the article.



  • Blake

    Hi Barb, thanks for getting in touch. If you could e-mail me the article that would be great. I can have a peruse with a view to uploading it into the ConnectedCoaches blog section. My e-mail is brichardson@coachwise.ltd.uk. Thanks.

  • BarbAugustin

    Done! I hope it's of some help.


  • Matt.P-iq

    Hi Blake

    You raise some really interesting points and if 1 in 4 people suffer at some point from mental health issues then why not sports people who you could argue are involved in a high stress and judgmental environment?

    I originally worked in coaching and sport psychology and I now run a private counselling/psychotherapy practice within and outside of sport. Spotting mnetal health problems is very difficult even for trained professionals and often you are trying to spot subtle changes in behaviour. In terms of support I suppose in the real world a registered counsellor would form part of the backroom staff so referral would be simple and easy if anything did crop up. I wouldn't recommend a coach to step in or offer advice but they are in a prime place to see symptoms and make a referral if required.

    In term of counselling itself, the relationship could be most valuable for the participant, its often percieved as a negative and pathological process but ultimately is a realtionship of growth and development. So often in sport athletes are treated like assets and they are at the centre of continuous interventions being applied left, right and centre, particularly in sport psychology. What counselling/psychotherpay can offer is a safe space to discuss performance, life and relationships in a safe environment. Simply being heard and understood can be massive for an athlete. Also, remember that those providing support in sport (staff) have a vested interest in athlete performance so for the athlete to have a therapeutic relationship without pressure to perform can have many advantages.

    I did read a recent paper which I will try to root out for you and I'm currently designing a workshop about mental health in sport so I'll keep you posted with any papers I find.



  • Blake

    pdfs received Matthew. Thanks very much for the interest and advice, your input will come in very handy for any future articles I write on mental health awareness. regards, Blake.

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