Mental Health

Mental Health issues have reached worrying levels amongst players

Raising awareness of the mental health struggles faced by footballers in today’s game is one of FIFPRO’s most pressing concerns. It is vital that mental health problems can be diagnosed and correctly treated with the same commitment and care as physical injuries. Although not always obvious, mental health issues can manifest in a variety of different ways, from depression and anxiety to trouble sleeping - each of which can have a severe impact on both a players’ professional and personal life.

What you should know

Footballers are particularly vulnerable

It’s unsurprising that high-pressure careers which are subjected to constant public and media scrutiny result in symptoms of poor mental health. A 2015 FIFPRO study revealing that 38% of active professional players have experienced symptoms of depression, with a distinct lack of support perceived in the industry.

FIFPRO recently launched a Mental Health Pilot-Project

The aim is to help players unions to develop and implement a process to promote awareness of mental health issues, as well as the tools to deal with them. FIFPRO is also conducting a long-term observational study of the occurrence of mental health problems among players.

No two experiences are the same

When it comes to mental health, every person and player is different, and there is no “one size fits all” solution. Proactive steps must be taken to educate the industry as a whole on both detecting and compassionately dealing with symptoms of poor mental health.

“FIFPRO has been working on the players’ mental health since 2013, from conducting unique scientific studies to develop practical tools for players”

— by Dr. Vincent Gouttebarge, FIFPRO Chief Medical Officer