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13 May 2019

University report to guide racing’s mental health strategy

Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, a national initiative organised by the Mental Health Foundation which runs from 13th – 19th May.

Racing Welfare are once again leading racing’s response to the campaign, which looks to break down the stigma associated with mental health and encourage those who may be struggling to seek help. Racing Welfare representatives will be present at every race meeting during the week and will be handing out green ribbons to all those working on course during the day, including stable staff leading up in each race. The charity has produced a campaign film that will be shown at every meeting and across its social channels throughout the week.

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Racing Welfare’s film for Mental Health Awareness Week 2019

Racing Welfare will announce the findings of its industry-wide mental health research at a launch event today at Royal Windsor Racecourse.

The study, undertaken on the charity’s behalf by Liverpool John Moores University in association with The Racing Foundation, is expected to shape the future structure of mental health support.

The research was undertaken by Will McConn of Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and was part-funded by The Racing Foundation.

The year-long research focused on those working across all sectors of horseracing and Thoroughbred breeding.

The data collection phase incorporated 131 face-to-face interviews and focus groups across the UK, in addition to an online survey which generated over 1500 responses.

Racing Welfare will present the findings and recommendations of the research to an audience of industry stakeholders, press and representatives from other sports, and the wider charitable sector.

The key themes will be discussed by a panel of experts during the session, which will be live-streamed on Racing Welfare’s website and social media channels from 2pm – 3.15pm. Click here to view live stream. The charity is grateful for the support of The Racing Foundation, LJMU, the British Horseracing Authority, Arena Racing Company and the National Trainers Federation in making the event possible.

Will McConn, Postgraduate Researcher at LJMU’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, commented: “We, at LJMU, are delighted to be able to deliver this research to the racing industry in collaboration with Racing Welfare. It is the culmination of 14 months of direct engagement with those working day-to-day in racing alongside the subsequent analysis and write up. Overall, our aim is not to dictate what the industry should seek to do in relation to mental health and wellbeing but help encourage dialogue and reflection on the next steps that could be taken. We feel the report achieves this balance by offering recommendations coupled with broader themes that reflect the various voices and perspectives of the industry on mental health.”

The research looked at the relationship between working in racing and mental health, and covered every profession in the industry, including both core and auxiliary roles. The full report will be publicly available on Racing Welfare’s website from 2pm today.

Dawn Goodfellow, Chief Executive of Racing Welfare, said: “Monday marks a hugely important day for us and for the industry as a whole. The research undertaken by Will and the team at LJMU offers an independent review of the relationship between working in racing and the mental health of its participants and we look forward to engaging with racing’s stakeholders to build on the recommendations; this is the start of the conversation. The information provided will help Racing Welfare to assess the suitability and accessibility of our mental health provision as it stands, in addition to providing evidence for the development of future services to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of all of racing’s people.”

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