Research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that team doctors can have a significant role in supporting athletes’ mental health.

Utilising support systems and discussing problems is one of the best ways to maintain positive mental well-being and peak performance.

Discover the mental health resources available to you as part of our #MentallyFit campaign.

A recent study has stressed the importance of athlete support staff in mental health management. The research focused on athletes and team doctors in the Australian Football League, but the findings are important for all sports and all athletes.

Read the research in full here

The key findings

The main takeaway from the study is that your support network can play a vital role in preventing mental health issues and also in identifying the best ways to treat them. While it’s important for you to understand yourself and look after your own mental health, a coordinated approach is the most effective way forward.

Of course, while entourage members can’t be solely responsible for your mental health, the findings suggest that the best approaches to combatting issues are ones that share the responsibility beyond individuals.

Researchers spoke to a number of club doctors about their role with regard to athletes’ mental health. The consensus was that they felt it was their responsibility to promote positive mental health, help athletes identify problems if they arise, and take a direct role in assessing and coordinating treatment. Notably, all the participants identified healthy sleep management as something that medical staff should promote as part of maintaining positive mental health.

Read sleep expert Dr Michael Grandner’s advice for entourage members

Your support network can play a vital role in preventing mental health issues and also in identifying the best ways to treat them

Why is this important?

You already know that looking after your mental health is vital, but you shouldn’t be afraid to discuss it with your entourage and support networks. The level of interaction you have with medical staff will depend on your sport and individual set-up, but all athletes can use the support systems available to help protect your mental health.

Athlete365 offers a range of resources to help you manage your well-being, including expert advice to help you sleep, tools for combatting stress and anxiety, and free access to a confidential 24/7 helpline available in more than 70 different languages.

Your mind is as important as your body. Staying mentally fit will keep you physically fit.

Learn more with Athlete365’s #MentallyFit page, where you can find resources, stories and advice to help support you and your mental health.