Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), Racing Welfare and the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) will be carrying out a major new piece of research into the provision of mental health services across horse racing. This is the first piece of research that aims to fully understand the scope of mental health related challenges faced by individuals working across the full range of roles within the racing industry.
The study will include stud staff, stable staff, racecourse staff, groundsmen, jockeys and stalls handlers as well as employers and other key stakeholders within the Horseracing and Breeding Industry.
It is expected that the results will shape the future mental health provision across the racing industry.
The work is due to commence in the New Year and will be led by newly appointed LJMU postgraduate researcher Will McConn who will be based at the LJMU School of Sport and Exercise Sciences.
Project Directors Dr Mark Nesti and Dr Martin Littlewood from the Psychology & Development Research Group (PaD) at LJMU are also involved in the study, bringing with them extensive experience of delivering sport psychology support in English Professional League football. They will draw on these experiences to complement the research in the horse racing industry.
The LJMU team understand that working in the racing industry brings unique stresses that are not always fully understood by the outside world, especially beyond other professional sports. This research should help make sure that support can be targeted where it is most needed and in a way that is accessible to all.
Chief medical advisor at BHA Dr. Jerry Hill said: “Racing is a tough industry and requires physical and mental resilience from its participants whatever their role. Sometimes the pressures can overwhelm people’s natural defences causing mental and physical ill-health.
“There can be a reluctance to acknowledge and seek help particularly for mental health problems, which means planning appropriate support can be difficult.”
He added: “This project focuses on the psychological well-being of those working in racing, and not exclusively those working in direct contact with horses.