The mental health charity MIND defines good mental health as being generally able to think, feel and react in the ways that you need and want to live your life. In a period of poor mental health, the ways in which someone is frequently thinking, feeling, or reacting can become difficult, or even impossible to cope with.
Mental health is just like physical health: everyone has it and we need to take care of it.
The mental health of people all around the world is being critically affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Closer to home, many members of our motorsport community have experienced difficulty in adjusting to the impact of COVID-19 and the suspensions necessitated by lockdowns and other restrictions. Ours is a community of passionate motorsport participants and enthusiasts – including competitors, officials, volunteers and fans – for whom the ability to get out and compete or follow the sport at weekends is a way of life. We all share that frustration, and it has motivated the governing body’s diligent efforts to resume the sport as quickly and safely as possible when permitted to do so.
Whether difficulties are due to COVID-19, or related to other life challenges, the wellbeing of our community matters to us. As such, our Safeguarding team have developed a strategy that raises awareness of mental health problems, what causes them, and the many different kinds of help, treatment, and support that are available. It aims to:
- promote the importance of positive mental wellbeing and the steps we can all take in our day to day lives to take care of our emotional wellbeing, and to build the resilience that research shows will help us all to manage life’s challenges
- provide a platform that signposts links to the UK’s leading mental health providers such as the NHS and MIND
- make free resources available to the Motorsport UK community, Academy members, and the governing body’s own staff members
- provide access to high quality mental health awareness training that ensures Motorsport UK executives are equipped to convey accurate and beneficial information and support.
The community is already benefitting from the implementation of this strategy. One example is Motorsport UK’s safeguarding training for the British Karting Championships, which highlighted the importance of every young person’s emotional wellbeing and how positive our sport can be to their emotional development. It also highlighted how the sport they love can become challenging, especially when unattainable expectations are placed on them. We expect to begin a wider rollout of the programme in the summer of 2021, with tailored information for all members of the community, from competitors to those who administer the sport, and the many thousands of participants in between.
Motorsport UK has also gathered resources that provide guidance on where to find more information, as well as tips for friends and family. The following resources are particularly recommended: