ATP partners with Sporting Chance and Headspace to ramp up mental health provision for players, staff

London [UK], May 20 (ANI): The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) on Wednesday announced new partnerships with Sporting Chance and Headspace to support the mental health and wellbeing of its player members and staff.

Founded by former Arsenal and England football captain Tony Adams MBE, Sporting Chance is a leading mental health provider working exclusively with professional and elite sports participants to give them a safe and confidential space to discuss emotional wellbeing and mental health.

"The partnership between the ATP and Sporting Chance means ATP Player members will be able to contact a 24/7 helpline providing access to a triage team of therapists," the ATP said in a release.

Players will then be referred onto Sporting Chance's network of therapists, all experienced at working with elite sportspeople. They will help the players deal with any issue they may be struggling with, from the psychological effects caused by COVID-19 and not playing tennis, to dealing with anxiety and depression or the effects of a sporting injury, said the ATP.

"Being mentally strong is just as important as physical strength in tennis and looking after the mental health of our players and staff is a key priority for us," said ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.

"Everyone has been adapting to periods of self-isolation and decreased physical activity during the pandemic, but this can have a particularly detrimental effect on professional athletes who are used to particular training structure and playing day in day out. We want to make sure we're doing everything we can to support our players and staff during this time and I'm proud of the partnerships we've been able to announce in recent weeks and months which allow us to do this," he added.

The announcement highlights ATP's increased focus on supporting the mental health of its players and staff. Last month, the ATP announced it was offering players a way to develop new skills during the pandemic through a partnership with Coursera, an online education platform, where players will be able to choose from more than 4,200 different courses of study to keep themselves mentally sharp.

"We are delighted to be working with the ATP in supporting their players at this difficult time. The challenges that all sports and sports professionals are experiencing in the light of this pandemic will be affecting all of us in different ways," said Tony Adams, MBE.

"I started Sporting Chance twenty years ago with the vision of creating a safe place for professional and elite athletes to discuss their emotional and mental health in confidence. Holding out our hand to those in need at this time is important to me and working with organisations like the ATP is a pleasure - well-done Tennis!" he added. (ANI)