Mental health action plan for elite athletes put in place by government

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'I was in a very dark dark place' - Chris Kirkland on anxiety & depression
A new action plan is being put in place to stop professional athletes "reaching crisis point" with their mental health.The measures have been announced by the government to protect the mental health of athletes and include giving coaches and support staff extra training to spot the signs of poor mental health.The plan has been developed with mental health and sport organisations.
The government says all elite sports must have a clear mental health strategy by 2024.
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A Professional Players' Federation survey in February found more than half of former professional sportspeople had concerns about their mental or emotional wellbeing since retiring.Former Burnley defender and ex-Professional Footballers' Association chairman Clarke Carlisle has previously spoken of his mental health issues, while ex-England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland told the BBC about his battles with anxiety and depression which led to him retiring from professional football."It is a good step forward to support elite sports stars in the future," said sports minister Tracey Crouch, speaking to BBC Radio 5 live."Over the past 18 months there have been a number of high-profile stars reaching crisis point - a point where they had to be sectioned or taken out of the game."What I wanted to do to is make sure we have the right interventions in place early on so they don't reach crisis point."The action plan sets out to establish "a high standard of mental health support in elite sport" and "ensure mental health support is available, and parity with physical health promoted, at every stage of the talent pathway".It is being run in partnership with UK Sport, Sport England, professional player associations, The Sport and Recreation Alliance and mental health charity Mind.
Action plan's key points
Training for performance directors, coaches and governing bodies on how to identify signs of mental ill-health and promote positive mental wellbeing.
A mental health pathway.
National Lottery funded athletes to visit mental health units to reduce stigma.
Sharing of best practice across the sport sector.
Improved mental health education and training.
An online resource and tailored guide to be produced.
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