The Racing Foundation have awarded over £62,000 in funding to Racing Welfare to commission a Mental Health research project. This research will be conducted by Liverpool John Moore’s University and will assess the racing industry’s specific mental health requirements. The study has the full support of the British Horseracing Authority and will take place over the course of a year, commencing this September.
Racing Welfare is committed to ensuring that racing’s workforce can access appropriate mental health and wellbeing support when required and without lengthy waiting lists. The charity already offers a range of services to support mental health including telephone and online counselling via Racing’s Support Line and face to face counselling arranged through our welfare teams. Furthermore, all Welfare Officers working for the charity are trained Mental Health First Aiders and are able to provide information and advice to people to help them access self-help and professional support. These services sit alongside the mental health support for jockeys provided by the Professional Jockeys Association and the Injured Jockeys Fund.
However, Racing Welfare is also aware that in order to further develop its service provision and ensure it is consistent and available to all those working in racing, it needs to better understand the needs of the people who together make up racing’s workforce. The study will include stud staff, stable staff, racecourse staff, groundsmen, jockeys and stalls handlers as well as employers and other key stakeholders within the Horseracing and Breeding Industry. No research regarding mental health has been conducted in the industry at this scale before and it is likely that it will provide new insights that will benefit the industry as a whole. In order to provide services that are appropriately targeted and required by racing’s people, this research first and foremost needs to be carried out.
The study will fully assess the mental health and wellbeing of the workforce, its needs and the required service provision in the horseracing industry on a national basis. The findings of the study will be used to aid Racing Welfare in the development of its mental health support services as well as contributing to the racing industry’s wider mental health strategy. The study will make recommendations regarding a holistic mental health service (inclusive of addiction issues) to be made available on fully-accessible and national basis for everyone working within the horseracing industry.
The Liverpool John Moore’s University project team will be supervised and managed by project directors Dr Mark Nesti and Dr Martin Littlewood. They will be supported by a team of experienced academic researchers who have specialist knowledge in the study of mental health and wellbeing.