The Professional Cricketers’ Trust has officially partnered with Sporting Chance to provide PCA members with mental health treatment and support after a record 85 PCA members - including 40 current players - were diagnosed with related issues in 2019.
The Trust and the PCA carried out an independent mental health treatment and education review in 2019 after a sharp incline in services used by members with 72 individuals supported in 2018 and 59 in 2017.
The players’ charity has therefore decided to extend its relationship with Sporting Chance to become the Trust’s official partner for mental health services.
Previously, Sporting Chance had worked on a small number of cases with the Trust, but this will now extend to cover all of those professional cricketers in England and Wales who require mental health support, including the 40 new female PCA members set to join the Association later this year.
As part of that service, Sporting Chance will now operate the PCA’s dedicated Confidential Helpline that is funded by the Trust - a 24-hour, 365 day-per-year support network available to all PCA members, whether they’re currently playing or retired.
Many of that group will already be familiar with the work of Sporting Chance and its founder - ex-international footballer and Arsenal FC legend Tony Adams - after the charity delivered educational seminars on recreational drug use to all 18 first-class counties in the winter of 2018/19.
Inspired by his own recovery from alcoholism, Sporting Chance was created by Adams after he saw the need for a dedicated environment where sportsmen and women could receive support for the kind of destructive behaviour patterns that exist in the world of professional sport.
The charity now works within 14 different sports, extensively with organisations such as the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) and the Rugby Football League (RFL).
Services offered by Sporting Chance can now be added to the list of support available to PCA members, which already includes gambling awareness workshops delivered in association with EPIC Risk Management to academy squads in 2019 and senior first-class players this year.
Other emotional and wellbeing support offered by the Trust includes the Thrive Mental Health App, as well as the services of the PCA’s dedicated Personal Development Managers (PDMs), which will expand from a team of six to nine later this year.
Sporting Chance founder Tony Adams reflected on the charity’s ongoing partnership with the Professional Cricketers’ Trust: “I was very pleased and honoured to deliver educational seminars to all professional cricketers a couple of years ago, and on the back of that I think Ian and the Trust have been very impressed with the services we can offer.
“Our aim is to get the world of professional cricket to know what we do and how they can access our services. The primary goal is to make sure we can get the right help to the right people.
“We’re not doing it for the Trust or for Sporting Chance, we’re doing it for the cricketer who picks up the phone and needs that help. We have to remember that helping the individual is our primary purpose.”
Sporting Chance CEO, Colin Bland, said: “We’ve been working with the Trust for a little while now and we’re delighted to be signing this new deal with them.
“We already have a strong relationship with the Trust and the PCA and there are many players who have used our services to get on and have a more positive experience.
“We’re getting to know the flavour of cricket and cricket’s getting to know us, but I think it’s a really good marriage. The welfare systems that the Trust and the PCA have in place for the players complement what we do here at Sporting Chance perfectly.”
Director of the Professional Cricketers’ Trust, Ian Thomas, said: “Over the past year or so we’ve been working with Sporting Chance to supply both education and mental health provisions to current and former professional cricketers.
“The Trust is very proud of the support it has put in place over the past ten years for cricketers struggling with mental health problems, and this partnership is another important step in that process.
“We are looking forward to Sporting Chance’s vast network throughout the country and beyond offering its support to our members after a record 85 cases were diagnosed last year.”