Mental Health Charity, Mind, have been appointed as an advisory body by the BHA to assist the sport in achieving its commitments to the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation.
The BHA, along with the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA), added their signatures to the Mental Health Charter last May.
In essence, the charter aims to create a positive sporting environment that is welcome to all and one that encourages people to talk about mental health and to not be afraid to seek help.
Mind, who have been around for the best part of 70 years, will help to ensure the BHA can support the mental health and wellbeing of staff through delivering mental health awareness training and reaching out to local communities through linking the BHA with the local Mind network to deliver events and activities.
Welfare Development Manager for the BHA, Matt Mancini, said: “The life of a jockey or racing groom can be tough. There are unique challenges that come with it. But we want everyone in racing to understand that they are not alone. You are surrounded by people who might be sharing your challenges or who can provide help and advice. This is why the #InYourCorner campaign is so relevant to racing, and why we will be giving it our full support.
“I’m also delighted that we will be working with Mind to deliver on the promises we made when we signed the Mental Health charter. Together we want to educate everyone involved in the sport about the support that is available to them, and that it is always the right thing to do to speak to someone if you think you need some help.”
In addition, the BHA will be working to promote Time For Change’s #inyourcorner campaign which launched nationally today.
The campaign wants people to understand that small things can make a difference and that being in a mate’s corner can be vital.
A number of jockeys have publicly voiced their struggles with depression, with the likes of six-time champion jockey Kieren Fallon having to retire from the saddle as a result.
With more jockeys coming forward, the racing industry has become more aware of plethora of challenges that jockeys face in what is a highly pressured sporting environment.
“We’re delighted to be working with the BHA to improve attitudes towards mental health right across the horse racing community – jockeys, racing grooms and supporters,” said Jo Loughran, Director of Operations at Time to Change.
Breaking the cycle of men feeling unable to reach out has never been more urgent
“Our research clearly shows that mental health problems are just not on the radar for men so partnering with trusted organisations like the BHA is a great way to get our messages across.”
She added: “We know that men feel strongly about brotherhood and friendship and can play a vital role in looking out for their friends’ mental health and wellbeing. Our new campaign aims to show that being in your friend’s corner doesn’t have to be difficult or awkward.
“Breaking the cycle of men feeling unable to reach out has never been more urgent. We need to help men realise they can make a real difference, even change someone’s life.”