With the pressure to perform in a game and COVID-19 indirectly raising depression and anxiety, our sportsmen and women are facing severe mental adversities. To help identify and treat those who are suffering, Adrenaline Solutions and the Pilipinas Obstacle Sports Federation (POSF) is running a training program for coaches, coach educators, and athletes on mental fitness in sport.
Adrenaline Solutions, a global, multi-disciplinary, and full-service agency dedicated exclusively to serving sports organizations, has gathered a team of sports scientists for a two-week program sponsored by the POSF, the governing sports association for Obstacle Sports like parkour and adventure racing in the Philippines. The program was designed to help participants become more mindful and aware of the mental wellness of elite athletes and coaches, and to support them through appropriate and timely programs and interventions.
The mental health program was developed by a star-studded academic lineup. It includes award-winning author and Adrenaline Solutions’ Sports Science Consultant Elesa Zhendorfer (Ph.D.), Adrian O’Connor of Roehampton University, Tom Woodhouse (Ph.D.), professor emeritus from the University of Bradford, and Adrenaline Solutions president and co-founder, Marc Dagenais. They will comprehensively go through topics like Sports and Mental Health, Motivation and Confidence in Sports, Creating Healthy Communities through Sports, and Peer Coaching and Mindful Listening. The program which began on October 19th is set to end on November 5th.
Figure 1: Highlighting topics to be covered in the program
“The collaboration between POSF and Adrenaline Solutions is a great step towards addressing the issue of mental health in sports,” said Dagenais. “We hope this type of program will flourish and help more athletes cope with depression and anxiety…
Figure 2: Characteristics of mental adversities
According to the Athletes for Hope Center, approximately 35% of elite athletes suffer from a mental health crisis, which may manifest as stress, eating disorders, burnout, or depression and anxiety.
To make things worse, cases of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders have increased by more than 25 per cent worldwide, according to a world-first study of the impact of COVID-19 on mental health.
The impact of COVID weighs heavily on athletes. A 2021 study on “sleep and mental health in athletes during COVID-19 lockdown” which involved elite and sub-elite athletes (565 participants) indicated physical activity was disrupted for 78.9% of participants, whilst 63.6% reported disrupted mood, 56.7% reported disrupted sleeping patterns, and 54.3% reported disrupted mental health.
Boxing legend and 2022 presidential candidate Manny Pacquiao admits to the harmful effects of mental health problems. He had at one point he considered ending his life. “I was reading this book called Purpose-Driven Life and I would read the Bible too. I felt like ending my life that moment because I was repenting for my sins. I was alone in my room and I was crying uncontrollably,” he said. Pacquiao had been struggling with alcohol addiction and gambling before he went for psychological counseling.