Olympic Games uncertainty contributes to spike in referrals

Last week we passed the milestone of making our 400th referral for specialist mental health support, after experiencing another spike in young athletes contacting us since the New Year.

We have no doubt that uncertainty over the status of the Tokyo Olympics has contributed to a surge in the number of elite athletes identifying mental health concerns. A dramatic rise in coronavirus cases in Tokyo has reignited speculation about the Olympic Games, which are due to open in the city in six months’ time. And issues relating to a curtailing of training and competition opportunities due to the renewed lockdown rules are other elements that are contributing to anxiety among some athletes.

Our founder Callum said: “2020 was a year in which athletes had had to think about mental health a lot more, because the challenges they have been facing have been so up front. We have definitely had a number of spikes in referrals – in March and April last year when the first lockdown was in full force, and another spike in the past month.
For Olympic athletes their opportunity comes around once every four years and they could be at the peak of their careers, and a lot of them will know that this is their only chance, or their last chance.
It’s always different for every individual – you have some who will be able to cope with it OK and others who are extremely worried and will start to think that this is the opportunity they have built towards their whole life, and it is slowly starting to slip away.”

We want to reassure young sportspeople, be they in training for the Olympics or competing in any other sport, that Sporting Minds UK is here for them.

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