26 September 2023

Athletes keeping up their mental health

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The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has welcomed new research which reveals that more high performance athletes are looking after their mental health.

Acting Director of AIS, Matti Clements said the AIS Mental Health Audit found 50 per cent of the 305 survey participants sought treatment in 2022, compared to just 39 per cent of participants in 2018.

Ms Clements said the biennial survey also showed positive improvement in the mental health and wellbeing of high performance support staff and coaches, with 61 per cent of respondents sharing that their sport setting was a safe place to disclose mental health problems.

“While it’s great to see the stigma of mental health improving across the sector, more support is needed in the prevention space,” Ms Clements said.

“There is still work to be done,” she said.

“The AIS Mental Health Audit showed more than a quarter of the athletes experienced anxiety or depression in 2022 and our priority is to ensure everyone in the high performance sport system receives help when they need it.”

Ms Clements said the Australian High Performance Sport system was united in the vision to win well, “which means balancing ambitious performance goals with safe, fair and supportive cultures and ensuring that our athletes, coaches, and support staff win in all areas of life”.

She said that as part of the commitment to improving mental health and wellbeing, the AIS had once again partnered with the Black Dog Institute to run the Mental Fitness Program – an initiative aimed at reducing rates of mental illness among young Australians.

“Over the next six months, 22 high performance athletes, including Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games athletes, will become AIS Mental Fitness Ambassadors, sharing their personal stories and mental health strategies with thousands of high school students across the country,” Ms Clements said.

The one-page snapshot of the AIS Mental Health Audit results can be accessed at this PS News link.

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