Why athletes need wellbeing support


It’s that time again, where the Euro’s take over the summer and brings out the best and the worst of football players and fans.

A football competition that takes place every four years not only brings together communities, but it also brings a lot of pressure and intensity. Aside from the fact that players wouldn’t have had much time to recover after their usual football seasons, any time away from their individual clubs consists of strict training plans in anticipation for the UEFA European Championship competition.

In a fight between 24 teams, it’s important that all players have been extremely dedicated in training and preparing for the popular competition filled with patriotism of Europe’s national teams. With the pressure of representing their countries, players move away from home to train in the hosting country. Players can struggle with being away from home and loved ones, and can struggle to adapt to new training routines, whilst also still recovering from their general league games and training.

Once the competition has officially kicked off, it means extra criticisms on performances and pressures as countries don’t want to lose. The extra scrutiny from fans, as well as coaches and managers, means that players are under a lot of pressure and stress. This can then impact players’ mental wellbeing and in turn, have a negative impact on their performances. Having 24/7 wellbeing support would mean that players can focus, feel good, and navigate the challenges that competitions throw at them.

UKIM’s Lead Psychologist, Dr Kayode, explains why footballers need wellbeing and mental health support…

“Work-life balance is tough sometimes and people can be consumed by their work. A footballer for example - sometimes training can consume time and life to a point where they don’t take care of their mental health and vice versa sometimes things in their personal life can be quite debilitating or impact their functioning or their ability to excel in their role as an athlete.

There’s also a huge critical aspect of football which can be quite damaging and it’s important to know that there are ways to protect yourself from this. A lot of it is about learning and education and being able to find someone who can support them through this difficult period. Especially normalising certain aspects of the inner critical thoughts that they might have about themselves, about maybe not doing so well in the game, what does that mean for them and actually how can they have a narrative from themselves.

Having support, especially from a clinical perspective, would help players greatly in terms of how to cope with aspects of training intensity and criticisms. It’s important that they have coping mechanisms that work for them.”

How UKIM Occupational Health & Wellbeing can support players:

  • Immediate Support: Immediate support and guidance to manage mental health challenges.
  • Clinical Audit Trail: A date and time stamped record of the history and details around the wellbeing actions you've taken to protect your athletes and your club.
  • Psychological Expertise: Personalised counselling to enhance resilience and performance.
  • Mental Wellbeing and Anxiety: Programmes to manage anxiety and improve mental health.
  • Reducing Stigma: Safe, non-judgmental environment for seeking help.
  • Welfare of Children in Sport: Support to ensure young athletes' wellbeing and development.
  • Transition Support: Assistance for young athletes adjusting to public exposure and wealth.
  • Career-Ending Injury Support: Tailored support to cope with emotional challenges and explore alternative paths.
  • Social Media Guidance: Strategies to manage online criticism and cultivate a positive presence.
  • Clinical Escalation: Access to a panel of clinical experts to support with a range of medical issues, should this be required.