Creating a psychologically safe culture

Last updated: 09 Nov 2023 Topics: Elite athletes Mental health and wellbeing

Sports organisations have a responsibility to protect athletes from a range of potential risks, including threats to emotional or psychological health.

A vital part of keeping athletes safe involves creating an environment that positively influences the mental health and wellbeing of all individuals. In recent years, research is looking to the concept of 'psychological safety' to protect athletes from emotional harm and create an environment where athletes can thrive.

Psychological safety refers to an environment where individuals can take risks, express ideas or concerns, ask questions, be themselves, and acknowledge mistakes – without worrying about any negative consequences. It’s a culture that promotes a sense of trust and respect where individuals don’t feel judged and can be their authentic self without wearing a mask. This kind of community can help people feel able to put themselves out there and maximise their potential.

Creating a psychologically safe culture involves thinking about several factors such as leadership, communication, and team relationships. We've developed a poster on psychological safety to provide some key tips that organisations can follow to create a culture of psychological safety and promote the wellbeing and performance of their athletes.

Download the poster (PDF)