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Racing Welfare leads a show of industry solidarity in support of Mental Health Awareness Week

Racing Welfare is bringing the horseracing industry together in support of Mental Health Awareness Week, running from 14th – 20th May 2018.   The charity hopes to break down the stigma surrounding mental health issues, promote the importance of good mental health and encourage open discussions on the subject across the racing and thoroughbred breeding industry.

Mental Health Awareness Week is a national campaign run by the Mental Health Foundation. Racing staff across the country will be showing their support by wearing green ribbons when they lead up on the various racedays occurring throughout the week.  The initiative has received industry-wide backing from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), The Jockey Club and Arena Racing Company (ARC) alongside independent racecourses who are all helping to promote the initiative.  Racing Welfare has also received the support of the National Trainer’s Federation (NTF) and Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA) to sponsor a Mental Health Training Day in Lambourn on 30th May 2018, one of the first of its kind in racing. 

Simone Sear, Racing Welfare’s Director of Welfare said: “Looking after our mental health is just as important as looking after our physical health, yet it is not always easy to recognise when we, or someone else, is struggling with a mental health issue. By supporting Mental Health Awareness Week we aim to raise awareness of and de-stigmatise mental health issues to make it easier for those working in our industry to come forwards for support, or indeed to support others to get help. This week provides an important platform to raise awareness of our range of mental health support services available to racing’s workforce. As signatories of the Mental Health in Sport Charter we are committed to making sure that good mental wellbeing stays high on our agenda”.

Alongside racecourse activity throughout the week, Racing Welfare will be shedding light on a number of topics relating to mental wellbeing via their social media channels.  The charity has also commissioned a video produced by Equine Productions to tell the story of one of their beneficiaries who has battled with mental illness; this will be shown on the screens of participating racecourses during the week in addition to being posted on social media.

Newton Abbot Racecourse have teamed up with the mental health charity Mind for their Wednesday 16th May fixture, which has been called the Mind and Racing Welfare raceday, with Windsor Racecourse also hosting the Mental Health Foundation during racing on Monday 14th May.

Research shows that two-thirds of us will experience mental ill-health of varying types at some point in our lives and the severity and impact of the issue, plus a person’s ability to cope with it, can fluctuate on a daily, weekly or yearly basis.  By proactively engaging racing staff with the campaign, Racing Welfare hopes to ensure that all those working within the industry know that the charity have a range of support services available should they or someone they know be struggling with their mental health.  Anyone looking for advice can access this via Racing Welfare’s 24hr helpline on 0800 6300 443. The service is completely free and confidential.

Wider to their support of Mental Health Awareness Week, Racing Welfare is working in conjunction with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and the BHA to carry out a pioneering piece of research into the provision of mental health services across horseracing.  Led by LJMU postgraduate researcher Will McConn, the aim of the study is to fully understand the scope of the mental health-related challenges faced by those within the racing industry.  Participants will include stud, stable and racecourse staff, alongside groundsmen, jockeys and stalls handlers as well as employers and other key stakeholders within the horseracing and breeding sectors and it is expected that the results will shape the future of mental health services across the industry.