We’ve reached an important milestone in the very busy but short life of our
charity, which it’s amazing to think, only came into being last November,
with the support system only going live on 20th January this year.
We recently received our 100th request for one to one support from a young
athlete. It’s a fact that during the pandemic, those with existing mental
health conditions are struggling more than usual, while many who have never
experienced mental health issues before are experiencing
symptoms for the first time. This is certainly evidenced by the sharp
rise in the level of requests for support; the number of support requests
per day increasing by a factor of 43 since mid-May, showing there is an
urgent requirement for much needed support for young sportspeople.
It’s very rewarding to Trustees and all in involved in Sporting Minds UK,
that as I write we have been able to help 105 young sportspeople, from all
parts of the UK and Republic of Ireland and across a wide discipline of
sports. Also interesting to note is that 25% of our requests to date have
been from footballers, 17% Rugby Union players, 7% from the Athletic field,
with requests from the Equestrian, Netball, Basketball and other sectors all
featuring. 53% of our support requests have been from young males, and in
an environment when young males are traditionally less likely to reach out
for support than females, it can only be good news that we’re seen as
accessible to contact. The average age of athletes is just over 19, the
younger end of our target demographic of 16 to 30.
We’ve already had some very reassuring feedback from those using our
support system that it really helps, and has begun the process of putting
these young sportspeople back on course in their chosen sport. However, we
recognise that support is not an overnight fix and can be a long process.
It’s also heart-warming that we have inspiring individuals undertaking some
really amazing fundraising activities in aid of Sporting Minds UK. A
significant number of these supporters are themselves very young. With the
increase in athletes reaching out for our mental health support, now more
than ever this fundraising is a crucial part of the charity’s future.
But we need more! So do watch out for a new initiative to raise more much
needed funds to enable us to continue our general awareness raising, one to
one support and also to kick off our mental health training for coaches and
others involved in sport, in the very near future.
Tony Lea, Trustee.