On the eve of the Rugby World Cup, as England prepare to start their campaign against Fiji tonight in Twichenhan, they have given an insight to HuffPost UK Lifestyle on how they deal with their mental health issues, the pressures of elite sport and maintain their mental wellbeing.
Their issues range from the constant media spotlight which they are under, the problematic balancing of home and family life with the demands of elite sport and the constant need to maintain impeccable high standards of performance.
It is interesting to see how they, the nation they represent and also the clubs they play for respond to these issues. London Wasps RFC are known to have their first team partake in yoga sessions, which is positive for both their physical and mental wellbeing.
Sam Burgess, England centre, has been practising yoga for years, he cites it as a great way to improve communication amongst his respective teams, and also a good outlet for dealing with the frustration one feels after a poor performance, and allowing the loss in confidence that may ensue to dissipate, so that it doesn’t manifest itself into a much larger problem.
Andy Titterrell, a capped England international, also spoke candidly about his experience of depression brought about by playing at the highest level, saying “A lot of my depression stemmed from rugby. I started asking myself ‘Am I training right?’ and ‘Am I not speaking out enough in meetings’- I began to question every little facet of the game and for a while didn’t enjoy rugby. I started to see changes in myself and I didn’t understand what was happening. There were times that I wanted to quit. But thankfully, I had some fantastic support around me and I realised that when I started to relax and push all those pressures aside, I did still love rugby.”
Titterrell is now an ambassador for State of Mind Rugby Union, a fantastic charity whose raison d’etre is to highlight and draw attention to the importance of mental health issues in the rugby world.
It’s incredibly important that role models like the England rugby team go out of their way to explain that they too experience mental health issues, normalising these issues and providing comfort to those who experience these problems and may feel like they are isolated and alone in their issues. Similarly it gives hope to people by showing that given the right tools to deal with these problems, they can be managed and overcome.
To read more about the England Rugby World Cup squad and their experiences, go to the link below :