The WHO defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”. Rather than being viewed as a “disorder”, mental health should be regarded as a continuum with mental well-being at the one end and severe mental disorders at the other. The diagnostic criteria for mental and behavioural disorders are defined in the ICD-10 and DSM-5.
“We all have mental health, like we all have physical health. Both change throughout our lives. And, like our bodies, our minds can become unwell.”
The aim of this module is to develop an awareness of the specific issues that relate to football players and the football context. It is important to appreciate that the prevalence of symptoms of depression and anxiety, and likely other mental health disorders, is at least as high as the prevalence seen in the general population. There are some specific conditions that can increase the risk of mental health problems. It is important to consider the possibility of a mental health diagnosis when conducting a pre-competition medical assessment and to be able to identify and treat these symptoms appropriately. In many cases, referral to other clinicians may also be needed.