Mental Wellbeing

Safeguarding framework

There’s lots of evidence that taking part in physical activity can have significant positive impact on mental wellbeing. Being physically active can impact mental health in the following ways:

  1. Improved sleep
  2. Lower risk of depression
  3. Improved mood
  4. Reducing stress and anxiety
  5. Increasing self-esteem
  6. Improving social connections

Like many team sports, ice hockey is a fantastic vehicle for building confidence and self-esteem on and off the ice, creating connections with teammates and clubs and getting those all-important endorphins.

We aim to promote the benefits of the sport on mental health, whilst remaining aware of the complexity of mental health disorders. With this in mind, we aim to educate our coaches, volunteers and participants around mental health, support clubs with making the sport accessible to those with mental health problems, and create awareness around the unique stressors sport can cause.

Unique stressors in sport

We all understand the positive impact physical activity can have on mental health, but, it’s also important that we are aware of the unique stressors in sport; these can be even more pronounced where elite athletes are concerned.

Some of the things that should be taken into consideration are:

  • the pressure to perform
  • comparisons with peers around ability, appearance or popularity
  • maintaining, gaining, losing or ‘making’ weight to qualify or feel accepted in the sport
  • the strain of finding, maintaining or potentially losing sponsorship or contracts
  • an increased risk of online or cyber bullying, due to their raised profile
  • dealing with media scrutiny and a lack of privacy
  • balancing personal and professional commitments
  • maintaining healthy relationships with peers
  • coping with the transitions between grassroots to elite level sport and into retirement, either planned or unplanned
  • the fear of injury and being put out of the game or forced to retire
  • managing the emotional highs and lows of sporting careers
  • sport being tied strongly with an individual’s identity – the risk here becomes apparent when young people leave sport and can feel a loss of this identity

Creating a healthy environment

We are committed to assisting clubs to create healthy environments within our sport, and support and encourage clubs to:

  • train staff and volunteers in basic mental health awareness as part of our core education programme, with an ability to use the correct language and challenge discrimination
  • ensure people have an understanding of the pressures of sport through education, safeguarding workshops and resources
  • promote a welcoming, inclusive club that treats everyone from all race, faiths, genders and any other demographic markers, as an individual with their own needs
  • develop safeguarding leads that feel confident they could identify and refer young people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts and feelings
  • challenge and address instances of poor negative, aggressive, racist, homophobic, transphobic or sexist bullying behaviour amongst young people, and report this through Hockey is Diversity
  • educate staff and volunteers through to ask how young people feel about taking part, listen to their answers and offer help and support if needed
  • create an environment that respects its members and their feeling, through codes of conduct and education
  • inspire a healthy competitiveness that embraces personal development as well as results or wins, promoting participation and a child-centred approach in our coaching programmes
  • promote the details of mental health support services and making them available to young people
  • ensure that everyone involved in the sports knows where and how to raise any serious concerns about a young person’s wellbeing, including internal reporting procedures, the NSPCC helpline and the police – if they believe a young person is at an immediate risk of harm
  • educate athletes and volunteers in our talent pathway programme about mental health in elite sport

Useful links in our Coaching and Education pathway programmes)

EDI policy

Transgender policy

Anti-bullying policy

Code of conduct

EDI policy template for clubs

Wellbeing template

Safeguarding policies link