It’s no secret that sports players can be subject to a lot of verbal abuse and online hate, as well as being subject to heavy criticism. This can very easily take a toll on them - just like it would on anyone. Sports players aren’t exempt from experiencing poor mental health, especially when they are vulnerable to the whole world.
A negative impact on mental wellbeing
Online hate and extreme criticisms have been the topic of conversation recently due to more players being subjected to these things on a greater level and how the player’s families get hurt by it all too. It causes a media storm and can have a large impact on the player’s mental health. Playing weekly or even two-times a week, being televised nationally and globally, being analysed for newspapers and TV, having social media opinions and hate; all of this has grown exponentially and now, it means that negative mental health and pressures has increased along with it.
Helping sportspeople deal with online criticism
Dr Kayode, Lead Psychologist at UKIM, says:
“For footballers, or for those athletes in competitive sports, I think it’s important to know that words do impact everyone in different ways and the critical aspect of football can be quite damaging. It’s important to know that there are ways to protect yourself from this, and this is where psychological support can help. Everyone can have their own critical inner-thoughts too and for footballers this can be about not doing so well in the game and what that means for them. It starts with that first and understanding this would really help sports professionals to learn how to receive other people’s criticism or thoughts; this is my aim through my work with athletes.”
Proactively managing mental wellbeing in sport
Whether it’s online hate, performance worries and criticisms, or injury stresses - players of sport can face many mental health and wellbeing challenges and that’s why we want to help. Our services help players’ overall physical and mental wellbeing, but they also offer social media guidance strategies, which is required more than ever with the saddening rise in online hate. With such prevalent criticisms in the football industry currently, it’s crucial that clubs support their players and that’s why we developed our bespoke Wellbeing in Sports package.
We hope that this is the start of a new era, where we become more proactive when it comes to helping sports players and protecting their mental health.
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Are you an employee?
If you have any health conditions or concerns that you are worried may impact your performance at work, we would encourage you to discuss them with your employer in a transparent and open manner. They may be able to provide support or a referral to our Occupational Health services (like Physiotherapy or Counselling) to help you manage your health at work.