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Tragedy of Richard Woollacott shows importance of mental health services

The whole team at Racing Welfare are very sad to read today that Richard Woollacott lost his battle with mental illness. Mental health problems are a growing public health concern and we recognise this news will have affected many people within the racing community; some of whom may be facing their own mental health difficulties.

Racing Welfare is committed to ensuring that everyone within racing’s workforce – inclusive of racing staff, trainers, jockeys, stud staff and racecourse staff – can access mental health and wellbeing support services when required, free of charge and without waiting lists. All of our Welfare Officers have received Mental Health First Aid training and are able to provide information and advice to people regarding mental health support and counselling options.

Racing Welfare awards financial grants and arranges for people to access counselling. This can be face to face, over the telephone or online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Racing Welfare’s services are accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year through Racing’s Support Line, a multi-channel helpline which can be accessed by telephone (0800 6300 443) online or by text (07860 079 043).

We also recognise that even more can be done to support the mental wellbeing of the racing community. We have commissioned Liverpool John Moore’s University to undertake a Mental Health research project which is now underway. It will help us develop our mental health support services as well as contributing to the racing industry’s wider mental health strategy.