During Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, we have been speaking to a number of sports professionals and athletes. Here we spoke with former Rangers star Jamie Ness.
Mental health has the ability to impact an individual from every walk of life and footballers are no strangers to suffering from the impact of being in a poor mental state.
Former Rangers midfielder Jamie Ness is just one example of a player whose mental health took a toll on both himself and later his career, after he opted to cancel his contract with Dundee FC.
"For me, mental health is incredibly important, not just as an athlete but as a person in general," Ness started.
"Mental health affects how you show up in every area of your life. Through the highs and the lows, a healthy mindset is key to a healthy life."
Whilst mental health can often consume and swell the mind of an individual, it is important to keep the mind busy and active, and Jamie used a popular and growing platform to aid his own mind.
"Podcasts have been a massive help to improving my mental health." he admitted. "We are so lucky to live in a day and age where anyone can have a voice and a platform to share their message and finding the right people can change your life."
Sport is well renowned for being a useful tool in supporting the mental health of individuals. For fans, its an escape from every day life, for those on the pitch and sidelines, its their normality and a part of their regular schedule - something that was lost throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jamie said: "Sport is fantastic. It offers you that chance to be totally present and focused on one thing whilst also improving your physical health through exercise. Also the social factor and being part of a community all play a huge role in creating better mental health.
"I try every day to feed my mind with some form of positivity, be it meditation, reading or listening to a podcast. Even going for a run or cycle without music and just being present can be really therapeutic."
However, sport also has the ability to do more, according to Jamie.
"The amount of money invested in every aspect of sport from sports science to nutrition is phenomenal but when you compare that with the investment in athletes mindset it pales in significance.
"I’d love to see top clubs and athletes using sports psychologists and therapists a lot more and normalising the fact that everyone needs help sometimes. Nobody is superhuman and the pressures athletes perform under are huge."
As lockdown looks to be reaching its conclusion once again, Jamie reflected on how he was able to keep himself positive and what he is looking forward to most about returning to 'normality'.
"Through the lockdowns I’ve been kept very busy with my three young children, we’ve tried our best to get outside every day between the home schooling, rain hail or shine. In Scotland mostly rain but it’s important to get out into nature and have a change of scenery."
"When lockdowns over, being able to go to a restaurant with my wife and our friends whilst the grandparents babysit the kids is very high up on my list of things to do when we leave lockdown. Also a staycation of some sort. Things we wouldn’t have appreciated fully before but now will be so grateful for!
Mental Health Awareness Week is taking place from 10 to 16 May and we have spoken to a number of professionals across the sports industry about their mental wellbeing. To find out more about the services Premier Sports Network and our charity partner Beder provide to help promote positive mental health across the world of sport, please email email@example.com