PFAS ADVICE: Mental Health

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Support: Mental Health in Football is a new initiative set up to identify and treat mental health issues in the game.

While the physical risks associated with football are well-known, until recent times there has been less emphasis placed on the incidence and impact of mental health issues on players - these include stress, low confidence, performance issues, addictions to full blown depression.

PFA Scotland have been tackling the issue of Mental Health in football for a number of years working alongside a number of organisations including Breathing Space, See Me and SAMH to provide confidential support to their members.

However, last year, Dr John MacLean and his staff at Hampden Sports Clinic joined forces with PFA Scotland to investigate the incidence of mental health issues in players across the 42 SPFL clubs - and the results were alarming.

After securing UEFA grant funding, Researcher Dr Katy Stewart, in conjunction with PFA Scotland, circulated two surveys with the results confirming significant levels of both anxiety and depression, with a number of trigger factors identified.

  • We received more than 600 responses from players across SPFL clubs
  • Of that number, 64% says they themselves or a team-mate had experienced a mental health issue
  • 162 of these players returned a follow-up, more indepth questionnaire identifying the need for further consultation and, in some cases, referral for face-to-face support and treatment
  • More than 40 players identified to have a significant issue have been seen or spoken to with many referred for more intensive treatment available under this new Support programme

 Going forward, any player experiencing Mental Health issues, gambling problems, drink, drugs and other forms of addiction can contact (by calling or texting) a specialised confidential phone line - 07702 565916 - where they will speak to an experienced Sports and Medicine Doctor, who will provide initial support and agree a support plan going forward.

The services offered range from phone advice, face-to-face assessment, medical support, clinical psychology and counselling.

We are also in the final throes of developing a Support APP which every player can download straight to their phone to make it even easier to make contact.

To access the number or for more information click the link below:

www.supportwithinsport.co.uk

Inverness manager Richie Foran, a former member of the PFA Scotland Management Committee and supporter of tackling the stigma of mental health in football, joined PFA Scotland Chief Executive Fraser Wishart and Dr John MacLean at the Support launch.