PCA - 13th May 2024 - Anxiety campaign launched

PCA - 13th May 2024 - Anxiety campaign launched

May 13

Following the release of the latest mental health stats in cricket, the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) and Sporting Chance have, today, as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, announced the launch of a thought-provoking campaign that addresses the rising rates of anxiety in professional cricket.

With the aim to raise awareness, reduce stigma and provide crucial support to players facing mental health challenges, the campaign aims to prompt players to pause and reflect on themselves and their teammates while also signposting to the support available through the PCA Confidential Helpline.

In partnership with leading equipment makers Masuri, the PCA and Sporting Chance have produced eye-catching helmets displaying the slogan “There’s no protection from anxiety”, complemented by the 24/7 Confidential Helpline number. The PCA launched its helpline in 2005 and has been administered by Sporting Chance’s mental health support services since 2018.

In 2023, Sporting Chance provided support to over 100 individuals through their partnership with the PCA. This included 49 current players, of which a significant 49% of these individuals reported anxiety as a primary concern. This prevalence rate amongst cricketers surpasses that of any other sport, notably doubling the prevalence in professional football, and highlights the unique challenges of the sport and the need for easily accessible services for players to address concerns.

Since 2020, the level of anxiety as a primary presenting issue has almost doubled, with early statistics showing that anxiety is still the highest presenting mental health concern in 2024.

Overall, provision of talking therapy has risen by 11% since 2020 with significant increases in support in the women’s game over this period, now at 32% of all referrals.

These stats come one week after the PCA revealed 62% of current male players noted the current playing schedule causes them concern from a mental wellbeing perspective, with many citing the inability to get away from the game during periods of the season.

With the PCA Confidential Helpline funded by the Professional Cricketers’ Trust, the vivid teal colour that has become synonymous with the players’ charity has coated the helmets which succinctly compare the physical and emotional risks associated with cricket. The helmets have been distributed directly into every professional cricket changing room ahead of the 2024 summer as a permanent reminder of the prevalence of the condition.

A talking point across all PCA pre-season meetings, the props are supported by an education programme and social media campaign, the initiative is part of the PCA and Sporting Chance’s commitment to create an environment where players feel empowered to seek help without hesitation or judgement and have access to a safe and confidential space to address poor mental health.

The motivation for this campaign followed data released last year that showed anxiety to be a prevalent issue among players. Dr Luz Locatelli, a therapist on Sporting Chance’s network describes anxiety as “a persistent state of mind in response to pressure, fear and perceived threat.”

Dr Luz explains how this is particularly significant in a sporting context “Anxiety can become a problem if we start consistently worrying about mistakes within training and competition and focus purely on outcomes. Then, we stop analysing the process, coaches’ decisions and internal competition leading to negative perfectionism. External triggers such as family issues could also trigger our anxiety driving us out of the physiological and cognitive window of tolerance.”