Why is mental health important within the context of sport?

Mental health and wellness is important to living a well-balanced life- in the context of sport and the rest of our lives.  We want to see athletes and coaches achieve their sport-related goals but, first and foremost, we desire them to do so in healthy and proactive ways. 

According to the World Health Organization, mental health is described as:

“a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”. 

WHO 2018

Mental health is not static, it ebbs and flows with time and environment. 

The past year has resulted in a great deal of uncertainty in many areas of our lives and our regular environments.  Sport has remained a constant, but with regular changes to how we train, compete, coach and interact with our teammates, athletes, and coaches.  Because of this uncertainty and the pressures of such incredible change we want to further explore what it means to be mentally healthy in sport and provide some resources to athletes, coaches, families and support staff.  

For the next few weeks we will be posting mental health in sport-related content including ideas on ways to deal with stress and burnout, what kind of mental health practitioners can help best in varying situations and other resources that may be useful to athletes, parents, coaches and other sport support staff. We are looking forward to shining a brighter light on this topic and hope to generate more conversations as it pertains to mental health and the role it plays in sport and the rest of our lives.

For more information on understanding mental health, we highly recommend reading “Understanding Mental Health”, a guide put together for Team Canada Athletes by Game Plan.  While many of the specific resources listed are available to Team Canada athletes only, this guide gives a fantastic overview and introduction to what mental health is and how it impacts sport performance and general wellness.

Please be advised that the information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, call 1-800-555-8222 (toll-free in BC) or 604-688-3234 (in Greater Vancouver) for information and community resources on mental health or any mental illness.

"Inside: Project Mongolia 2020"
"Inside: Mental Health Practitioners and Sport"