During Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, we have been speaking to a number of sports professionals and athletes. Here we spoke with PSN Advisory Board member, Sasha Ryazantsev, Chief Finance and Commercial Officer at Everton FC.
Why is your mental health important to you?
I think mental health is a key component of quality of life and it can’t be separated from physical health.
What has Everton FC done as an organisation to support the mental health and wellbeing of players, staff and fans?
We ran a number of mental health programmes as part of our Blue Family engagements, with our fans, academy players and staff. This includes calls with players and management, checking up on the most vulnerable, making sure that our staff are coping with the lockdown etc.
Have you been working from home and has that had an impact on your mental health?
Yes, I have been working from most of the the lockdown and I have been fortunate enough to be in my house with my family, and we have been able to give each other a lot of support.
How can sport contribute towards creating positive mental health in the UK?
I think sport has many ways of creating positive mental health. Elite sport provides the opportunity for teams to be role models, but also to bring happiness to fans by keeping in regular contact and providing a positive spirit to deal with adversity. Recreational sport is equally important, as it’s clear that it helps not just to keep in good physical shape, but also supports one’s mental health.
Is there anything you do to keep you mentally fit?
I try to interact with people as much as I can, mediate when possible, do as much exercise as possible and read a lot of engaging books. I also find that walking is a very good way to keep your head clear.
Are you able to leave work at work or can you sometimes have it on your mind at home?
That’s the difficult part! And especially so, in a working from home scenario...
What do you miss most about work outside of COVID?
Face to face interaction and being able to have a clear boundary between work and personal life.