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18 Aug 2020 67

Thought leadership article: Mental health and well-being

League Managers Association Technical Director and UK Coaching Board Member Dr Wayne Allison's thought leadership article on mental health and well-being.

During my playing days, mental health and well-being in football was never really talked about. There was always the attitude that if you did mention it that you were showing signs of weakness, so no one ever said anything. There was always a mentality of ‘pull yourself together and get on with it’ instead.

If you were suffering, you may have been going through some real psychological issues that you would like to speak about, but it wasn’t widely spoken about or addressed in any way like it is now. Thankfully these attitudes have changed a lot over recent years, and we have seen huge progress and I think the support that is available for both players and coaches is fantastic.

The only disappointing thing is that it often only comes front and centre when something bad happens; even when you have good mental health and are in a good place, it is important to keep having those conversations because good mental health is key to your well-being.

This is the same with safeguarding - we have to be proactive rather than reactive in terms of dealing with these issues. I work a lot with managers at all levels and they are much more aware of mental health and well-being now. Firstly, about themselves and then about the players and staff around them. This can only be good for the game, not only from the openness but also the willingness to talk about it, which is really important.

Across the coaching landscape there has been a lot of progress made in the five pillars of Duty to Care, but as with everything there is always room for improvement.

The UK Coaching Duty to Care Toolkit is a great place for everyone to start to ensure their skills are on point and to ensure everyone is adopting best practice.

I’ll be recommending it to coaches and players who I work with because it is an essential educational tool.

The more people who are aware of it the better, because it can play a key role in an individual’s personal mindset and also their professional development.

It can also give the coach a nationally recognised digital badge which should be adopted by many organisations. If coaches and organisations are serious about the welfare of their athletes, then they should prioritise the Duty to Care Toolkit and we will all achieve more.

Duty to Care Toolkit and Digital Badge

Learn more about the five pillars of Duty to Care and start working towards earning our nationally recognised Duty to Care ‘Digital Badge’

Learn More