New Mental Health Support for Snooker Players

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The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) is today pleased to announce two new partnerships which will see support offered to current main tour snooker players who are struggling with mental health issues.

A signatory to the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation, launched by The Sport and Recreation Alliance, alongside the Professional Players Federation and Mind in 2015, the WPBSA has identified a need to provide a confidential and professional clinical service to its Members.

An agreement to provide this support has now been made with Talking Solutions Ltd, an organisation with over 30 years’ experience supporting individuals through a wide range of mental health issues, from anxiety and depression through to psychosis.

Under the new agreement, main tour players now have access to the support that they need in the following ways:

  • A dedicated number and email for players to contact directly without needing to contact the WPBSA should they feel they need to.
  • Initial assessment within 72 hours to determine whether further support is needed.
  • The cost of up to six sessions with Talking Solutions to be covered by the WPBSA for each Member.

Alongside this initiative, the WPBSA has also partnered with the SOS Silence of Suicide group, who provide a bespoke informal service that offers people opportunities to discuss the troubles in an open forum that will support them in speaking more freely to assist with avoiding the long-term potential threat of suicide.

Through its work the WPBSA will promote SOS Silence of Suicide to raise awareness of the potential for suicide and the need for people to talk. SOS Silence of Suicide will also offer two open sessions for players at a major event, providing the option to come and speak freely about issues and experiences they feel they wish to share in relation to mental health issues or problems that long-term could bring about suicidal thoughts.

WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “The WPBSA is committed to supporting its members. With the World Snooker Tour growing in popularity and with an increasing number of successful events being added to the tour year on year there will be unseen pressures on players. It is important for WPBSA to be able to provide support mechanisms to assist any tour player that feels they need it. No one should suffer in silence.”

Both new agreements underline the WPBSA’s commitment to tackling mental health issues in snooker and the work that has taken place in particular since 2015. Earlier this year, recent Paul Hunter Classic semi-finalist Mitchell Mann spoke out in support of our ‘Your Cue to Talk’ campaign and represented the WPBSA at the second anniversary celebrations of the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation in London.

Visit our Player Support section to learn more about the new initiatives and the support available to current main tour players from the WPBSA.

About Talking Solutions

Talking Solutions has a proven track record, built up over 30 years, in assisting people to overcome the mental health difficulties they are experiencing.

The main form of therapy offered by Talking Solutions is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a structured talking therapy that enables individuals to understand and overcome their problems. CBT is regularly used throughout the United Kingdom, and is the main form of psychotherapy advocated by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), for a wide range of mental health problems.

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About Silence of Suicide

SOS Silence of Suicide was established by Michael Mansfield QC and his partner Yvette Greenway, following the suicide in May 2015 of Michael’s daughter Anna and five months earlier of a lifelong friend of Yvette’s. SOS Silence of Suicide is a unique service with one simple aim: to encourage open, honest discourse by all those affected by suicide, from a safe platform provided by SOS where stigma, shame and silence do not exist.

Yvette Greenway from SOS Silence of Suicide said: “We are delighted to be working alongside the WPBSA as part of their continued and expanding mental wellbeing support system for snooker players. We have many shared concerns, values and aims and by working together for the benefit of others, we hope to reduce and eventually eradicate the shame, silence, stigma and isolation that suicide, alongside other mental health issues, provokes.”

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