Football clubs need to do more to help improve mental health of their players, says Prince William

Football clubs need to do more to help improve mental health of their players, says Prince William

Prince William has asked football clubs to do more to help players improve their mental health. The Duke of Cambridge made his comments recently while meeting with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse at Sporting Chance in Liphook, Hampshire. Prince William, who is the president of the Football Association (FA), acknowledged the survivors’ ability to tackle issues such as racism while performing well in sports. Sporting Chance, founded by former England football captain Tony Adams, supports people from professional sports deal with mental health and addiction problems.

Prince William said it was “fantastic” that players’ mental health is now being taken seriously. “We need to normalize this a lot more in stadiums around the country whenever we can and people, fans, players, need to see that, the clubs in particular have a huge role in promoting that message,” he said.

In mid-November 2016, the world woke up to a sexual abuse scandal involving young male English footballers. The news broke out after former Crewe defender Andy Woodward in an interview accused former football coach Barry Bennell of sexually abusing him at the age of four in the 1980s. A police investigation found that 148 clubs were involved in the scandal. The UK-wide investigation identified 155 potential suspects and 429 victims aged between four and 20. According to a report by the Guardian published in April 2017, 187 incidents of sexual assaults on junior footballers have been reported, which took place during the 20-year period between 1996 and 2015.

Child abuse in US

Child abuse and neglect are among the most prevalent public health problems in the United States. According to child protective service agencies, nearly 683,000 children experienced child abuse or neglect in 2015. The National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV) reports that one in four children has experienced abuse or neglect at some point in their life.

Child abuse has a detrimental impact on the victims. Apart from physical injuries such as burns, bruises and broken bones, it also has a lifelong effect on their mental health. Child abuse, as well as associated adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), lead to toxic stress, which in turn, can compromise early brain development and impair the nervous and immune systems. People who experience abuse in childhood are likely to develop mental illnesses and risk-taking behaviors such as smoking, drug abuse and unprotected sexual activities. Moreover, it also limits or restricts their life opportunities in terms of educational attainment, employment and income. This impact may run across future generations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends five effective strategies to prevent child abuse and neglect. They are:

  • Bringing about a change in social norms to encourage positive parenting.
  • Providing economic support to families so that they can better take care of their children
  • Offering quality care and education during the early years of life
  • Introducing effective intervention to reduce the risk of abuse and prevent future risk.
  • Educating parents and equipping them with requisite skills to promote healthy child development.

Seeking treatment for mental problems

Childhood is the most important stage of one’s life. Providing love and care to children helps them grow as healthy beings. Therefore, it is important to identify any mental problem a child experiences and get it treated at the earliest. The 24/7 Mental Health Helpline, provides credible information about psychiatric problems and a trusted rehab center near you. Chat online or call our 24/7 helpline at 855-653-8178 for more details.