International Mental Health Day and its importance for athletes

08 October 2021

On October 10th we celebrate the International Mental Health day. This celebration helps raising awareness of the importance of mental health and the need of support for mental health issues. Some football organizations have already stepped forward in this important matter by creating Mental Health channels, campaigns and rersources.

For instance, FIFPro started a campaign through the hashtag #AreYouReadyToTalk to create awareness of mental health issues related to footballers around the world, showing how these footballers overcame difficulties by seeking help. Additionally, FIFPro offers different materials to prevent mental health related issues and to support those affected.

FIFA launched a Mental Health campaign with the World Health Organization using the hashtag #ReachOut. They support this campaign with real stories from football-related participants, resources and helplines for those needing help.

Every week we witness incidents within football that affect players wellbeing on and off the pitch. These threats could be come from fans, but they could also be happening within the football teams, leagues and federations.

The most recent events concerning a high risk to mental health of players include the NWSL case that former players Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim raised against football coach Paul Riley. The public release of these incidents led to Venezuelan women’s national team players and Australian players to speak out about further problems including sexual harassment, grooming, and bullying.

On this day, #ShowRacismtheRedCard would like to remind you that discrimination is a big factor that leads to mental health problems, and that it is our responsibility not only to eliminate discriminatory behavior, but to provide with channels and resources to support those with mental health issues, regardless of the what is causing the problem.

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