Podium Analytics and Centre for Mental Health launch research project into sport, injury, and youth mental health

15 November 2022

Podium Analytics and Centre for Mental Health are embarking on a ground-breaking research project to explore how young people think and talk about sports injury, mental health and wellbeing.

The study will investigate what factors young people believe create positive, healthy sport experiences, and how these might relate to injury prevention and recovery. The findings will help researchers start to unravel the complex relationships between mental health, injury and recovery among young people aged 11–18 who play sport.

Previous work has shown that simple, clear messaging is one of the elements required for successful public health campaigns, so we will also be exploring the language that young people use and understand when they talk about injury and mental wellbeing in sport. We will be sharing these insights with leaders in sport, health and education to help them talk to more young people, more effectively, about this important topic.

Sport’s potential to boost mental wellbeing, as well as physical health, has put long-term participation at the heart of the UK’s public health strategy. Positive sport experiences nudge health and wellbeing trajectories in a positive direction – but injuries, unhealthy environments and associated mental health problems that halt participation can have a quietly devastating impact on young people’s lives.

Catherine Wheatley, Mental Health and Wellbeing Manager at Podium Analytics, said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Centre for Mental Health on this project because they have a wealth of expertise in youth mental health. This joint exploration of young people’s experiences and beliefs about sport, injury and mental wellbeing will help us understand the nature and scope of the problem, so we can start to design effective solutions”.

Kadra Abdinasir, Associate Director for Children and Young People at Centre for Mental Health, said, “We know that participation in sport has positive effects on young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Our partnership with Podium Analytics will enable us to gather deeper insights into the factors that influence young people’s mental health in sports, including the impact of injury. We’re pleased to be working with young advisors as part of this project to ensure we’re asking the right questions”.

An advisory group of young people is helping Podium Analytics and Centre for Mental Health design the study and create insights and recommendations for the final report, which will be published early in 2023.

In the meantime, Podium and the Centre for Mental Health are seeking volunteers to take part in this study. You can register your interest in participating in our focus groups during November and December by filling out this form.

The research project forms part of Podium’s overall strategy to understand, through data and science, the importance of the mental states of young people before, during and after a sports injury, and develop interventions that make sport more psychologically safe. You can find out more about Podium’s overall vision and mission here.

Podium Analytics is an NGO and charity with a vision to create a safer world of sport. Founded by Ron Dennis CBE, its mission is to significantly reduce the incidence and impact of sports injury, with a focus on 11–18-year-olds.

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