Mens Euro 2024 Mental Health

This year an anticipated cumulative viewership of 5 billion is expected to tune into the Mens Euro 2024 finals. It should be a source of joy in its exhibit of the beauty and spectacle of the world’s game yet for many the event will be clouded by its correlation to a spike in various mental health issues.

Last time out despite the incredible run of the England men’s team in Euro 2020 the final game ended in a horrific wave of online racial abuse. ​​

The historic game marked the first time the England men’s football team has made it to the final of an international tournament since 1966. But after ending on a 1-1 score following 30 minutes of extra time, the fate of the game was ultimately sealed by penalty shootouts, resulting in Italy’s win. 

Since then, some players on the England team, particularly Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, have been subjected to racist abuse on social media after they each missed a penalty. Many fans have since rushed to support the team, while the Football Association has issued a statement saying it is “appalled by the online racism” it has seen.

Marcus Rashford has since spoken out about the detrimental effect the online abuse has had on his mental health, calling for efforts to further support victims of online abuse and make an effort to destigmatise mental illness. 

Lioness Fran Kirby has also aided in spreading awareness about the issues faced by individuals both in and outside the world of football through her participation as an ambassador for CALM (campaign against living miserably). 

The work of these role models in the vanguard of the fight against mental health has seen tangible progress for in the year to September 2020, 10 per cent (464 members) of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) accessed counselling services, according to figures from the counselling body Sporting Chance. While there is certainly work to be done, the growing support for those facing mental issues within the game is testimony to the bravery of these previously mentioned footballing role models. 

Footballs link to domestic abuse

Despite these improvements within the game, unfortunately reports of domestic violence in the UK continue to surge during football competitions such as the European Championships. 

One in four women will be affected by domestic abuse in their lifetimes. Experiencing this kind of violence can have negative emotional, physical and financial effects, including an 18% decrease in lifetime earnings and a 42% increase in time spent receiving welfare benefits. 

Estimates vary, but this rise in reports during football competitions is somewhere between 25%–50%. A series of studies conducted by Dickson and Ivandić have found multiple reasons for this spike but the most significant appears to be emotional arousal and alcohol consumption. 

Psychologists have suggested some possible ideas to combat the spike. 

For example, beginning to think about when and how matches should be televised. It could be that if matches are only available at pubs, then viewers will consume less alcohol than they would watching at home.

It has been suggested to take it even further by only allowing schools or community centres to televise matches. 

Whether it’s through raising awareness or decisive policy changes, actions must be taken to ensure the Euros is a spectacle that everyone can enjoy without fear. 

This article was written by John Matthews on behalf of Tales to Inspire 

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