‘Mental Health in Elite Sport’ at European Parliament
October 10, 2018
Held by the Intergroup Sports of the European Parliament In light of the WHO’s ‘World Mental Health Day’ on Wednesday 10 October, a meeting on the ‘Mental Health in Elite Sport’ was held by the Intergroup Sports of the European Parliament. This meeting aimed not only at identifying the role of elite athletes and coaches’ mental wellbeing, but also to acknowledge the needs in providing professional mental health support services to those acting at the highest level of competitive sport.
The event has been put together with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in conference with MEP Bogdan Wenta, who is member of the European Parliament’s Sport Intergroup, TeamNL, the European Federation of Psychology Associations EFPA, European Federation of Sport Psychology FEPSAC, Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels and EU Athletes. Director Sabine Steyaert attended on behalf of EFPA.
Programme After a welcome word by MEP Bogdan WENTA who was a former handball player and coach in Poland, Spain and Germany, the meeting started with an introduction by Prof. Paul Wylleman, sport psychologist at VUB and Frédéric Destrebecq, Executive Director of the European Brain Council EBC about the significance of mental health in elite sports.
Elite athletes Jessie Barr, Olympian from the London 2012 games as part of the Irish women’s 4x400 m relay, Chris Kerr, Gaelic football player from Belfast and the Dutch Lisette Slomp-Teunissen Paralympic swimmer gold medal winner at the Paralympic games in London 2012 and bronze medal winner at the games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, talked about their experiences with mental health.
This was followed by presentations on providing mental health support in elite sport by Maurits Hendriks from TeamNL , Prof. Peter Falkai (Resilience can be taught) from Ludwig Maximilians Universität München/EPA and Prof. Paul Wylleman from Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
The meeting concluded with specific recommendations on the policy measures and support services aimed at ensuring the mental well being of talented, elite and retired athletes and coaches.
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