Sport NI publishes new research on mental health and wellbeing in sport

Last updated: 20 Mar 2017 Topics: Working with our partners Safeguarding children Type: Research
Sport NI mental health launch

New research further supports the role that sport can play in the promotion of mental health and wellbeing in local communities and athletes.

The report published by Sport Northern Ireland, Mental health and wellbeing interventions in sport: a review and recommendations (PDF), was launched by Fergus Devitt (Director of Active Communities Division, Department for Communities) at the latest meeting of the Sport Matters Monitoring Group. The group was provided with an overview of the research and its findings.

Raising awareness

Researchers from Ulster University and Sport Northern Ireland worked together on the research study, which sought to:

  • identify and examine the effectiveness of international programmes that promote mental health and wellbeing awareness in sport
  • review regional mental health and wellbeing policies, strategies and interventions 

Launching the report, Sport Northern Ireland chair George Lucas commented:

“Mental health is one of the most commonly raised concerns in many communities across Northern Ireland. When a reported 1 in 4 people facing a mental-health condition, cutting-edge research to improve outcomes is vitally important.

“This new report builds upon previous research conducted by Sport Northern Ireland and Ulster University, and provides greater insight into how the local and international sporting communities are working to promote mental health and wellbeing, as well as the issues and challenges they face.

"Sport NI strongly believes that sport has the potential to be a major force for good in enhancing people’s mental health, and through this report we hope to build better understanding of how this can be accomplished.”

Lead researcher from Ulster University, Dr Gavin Breslin, added:

“The University report makes a number of key recommendations, including:

      • the development of a mental health and wellbeing strategy specific to sport
      • enhanced integration of mental health safeguarding into existing networks
      • improved evaluation of current awareness programmes 

“These Ulster University recommendations will be used as a foundation for the work of the Strategy Steering Group for Mental Health and Wellbeing In and Through Sport.”