The British Elite Athletes Association is pleased to have enabled seven athletes and two members of staff to complete Mental Health Champions training with the UK Sports Institute.
In collaboration with Changing Minds, the Institute carries out Mental Health Champions training across the high-performance sports system, and linked-up with the BEAA to reach new athletes from various sports.
The training aims to equip athletes and staff with the skills to engage in conversations about mental health, signpost their peers to support, and understand mental health specifically in the world of elite sport. By completing the training, participants can better help their fellow athletes, improving mental health support within the system.
The BEAA facilitated athletes’ involvement in the most recent sessions as part of our ongoing commitment to equip athletes with the skills and confidence to thrive in all aspects of life, as well as to ensure broad mental health support.
Spread over four days, topics included relationships, conversation and listening skills; self care; risk and responding to crises; safety and care planning; and how the participants can utilise their training going forward.
The course continues in reflective practice groups six times a year, where participants can raise their experiences and seek further advice.
Ellie Griffin, the Mental Health Officer at the UK Sports Institute, co-led the sessions and said: “The response has been really positive. People say they feel they’ve learned a lot and actually that their confidence has increased.
“At the start of the training we do a bit around what your fears are about having conversations around mental health. A lot of people say they’re worried about saying the wrong thing and making it worse, so what I hope they get out of it is that they now feel confident they’re going to say the right thing – and actually that trying to say something is better than saying nothing.
“They were a really, really good cohort. Everyone was really engaged, and for a mixed athlete group that didn’t really know each other we were all impressed by how engaged they were. We can see them all being really good Mental Health Champions.”
Former skeleton athlete and now-BEAA Athlete Community Manager Milly Kellyman took part and said: “It was a really positive experience. Everybody came from different backgrounds and different sports and the training was really informative. We looked at lots of different skills and the qualities of a Mental Health Champion and how we can use that in facilitating support for anybody that requires it in sport.
“It’s so easy in sport to focus on the physical all the time through training and injury and everything else, but mental health isn’t as widely discussed. The impacts it has on athletes is huge.”
Elite athletes who require support with their mental health can contact the BEAA. We can listen, advise or make professional referrals – and all of our support is tailored to you, for as long as required.
Reach out via the below channels if you need us:
Read also: Explaining the BEAA’s mental health support