Frontier aims to use this men’s health awareness month to spotlight the reality of mental health in sport in general. We want all athletes to be comfortable to open up and certainly within Frontier, we encourage a culture of openness. Amidst the noise and buzz of a November international window, it’s important for everyone involved with players and player welfare to take this month as an opportunity to check in and encourage an open dialogue on men’s general AND mental health.
“ I think it’s important to take advantage of activations like Men’s Health Awareness Month. Overall health is a combination of physical, mental, and external factors. Physically athletes push themselves daily and it’s important not to neglect their mental welfare. Athletes are under pressure to preform and succeed and are subject to a lot more scrutiny online now, especially on social media. Therefore, I feel it vital that within Frontier there is a culture of openness and honesty… ensuring the athletes have someone they can rely on and trust. From a more macro point of view, it’s great to see the athletes speaking openly about their mental health, something that would have been considered taboo in changing rooms not that long ago!” – Chris Best
We reached out to a few of our athletes to understand their interpretation of the importance of good mental health and the affect that it has on an athlete’s performance.
Adam Byrne expressed a strong belief in the importance of good mental health in general. He said, “I think mental health is hugely important not just for rugby players but all men, women and children. I think the tide is definitely turning and more men and athletes are comfortable talking about their mental health. I think this needs to continue to break down the barriers and stigmas surrounding it. With all the stressors that come with life I think it’s important to be aware of your mental health and not be afraid to have chats with friends and family or seek help elsewhere. I always like to speak about anything on my mind with friends or family, my motto is a problem shared is a problem halved!”Although Byrne didn’t get a chance to participate in Movember this year, he said he definitely plans on participating next year!
Nick McCarthy and Calvin Nash expressed their thoughts specifically when it comes to mental health in professional sports. McCarthy believes that good mental health is “very important as an athlete” and says “you can’t perform your best if you’re not feeling 100%.” Both acknowledged how the pressure of professional sports can have an impact on the players mental health. Nash said,“I think mental health is massive in performance. In sport you are constantly challenged mentally and having self doubt or other things you cannot deal with can be detrimental inside and out of your sport.”
Calvin Nash is participating in his own Movember campaign for the third year, there’s only a couple more days left to check out his page and donate to the cause!: https://ie.movember.com/mospace/14059601?mc=6&utm_medium=share&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=fundraise
The stigma surrounding mental health in sport is said to be getting better through big names talking about their own mental health struggles, but it still has a long way to go. By fostering an environment where we have open dialogue with our athletes, we hope to be a support system for them long term.