Nearly 10% of Premier League and EFL players surveyed by the Professional Footballers’ Association last season said they’ve experienced bullying during their careers, while nearly 5% contemplated suicide.
Health data published by PFA on World Mental Health Day highlights the social and mental health challenges faced by current and former professionals, as well as the work the union is doing to help its members.
Seventy-nine of the 843 male EFL and Premier League players surveyed over the course of last season said they had been bullied at some point in their professional lives, while 40 said that they had been going through thoughts of taking their own lives for three months. before completing the survey.
Dr. Michael Bennett, PFA’s welfare director, said of bullying statistics: “These are numbers that clearly illustrate the severity of these problems in the game. Based on this feedback, we I’ve tweaked the sessions this season to learn more about the type of face-to-face with players who bully. It could be team bullying, such as from teammates in the locker room or training ground. It could be the club staff or the management.
“We are particularly concerned about transfer windows. We know that players can be isolated from their team when a club is trying to force a move. We usually deal with those cases. “Ultimately, whether it’s the training ground or the stadium. A game day, it’s the players’ workplace. They have the right to feel protected and safe at work. That’s obvious. However, any form of bullying will have a lasting impact on an individual’s mental health.”
Data was collected at health seminars held at clubs throughout the 2021-22 campaign.
Around 12% of players (98) said they felt pressured to get vaccinated against Covid-19 or felt emotional distress about it, and 22% (189) experienced severe anxiety , to the point of feeling scared or something terrible. can happen.
Dr. Bennett added: “Elite sports can be a competitive and high-pressure environment. Professional football is a results-based industry where, for both players and staff, careers are equal. It’s on the list. Livelihood is always on the line. It’s a constant roller coaster ride. One bad thing passes or a missed opportunity increases your confidence. Score goals and adrenaline is on. pump.
“Players often rely on short-term focus and factors that are out of their control, such as injuries, transfer policy and team selection. Any of those factors has its potential. can have a significant impact on their long-term careers.
“We hold health seminars at clubs with players of all ages, from the academy to the first team. These sessions are very important in creating a safe place for discussion. About mental health Data shows that most players will be concerned with at least some aspect of their health These conversations help normalize talking about mental health with the team .”
The PFA also revealed that 520 members accessed counseling or support services through Sporting Chance last season. Forty-seven percent are current players, 48 percent are former players and five percent are family members of players the union agrees to support.
9% of the 520 are female players, 86% are current and 14% are former players.