THE challenging lifestyle of a jockey is very demanding on health, both physically and mentally.
When a jockey experiences a physical injury, there is a medical team available to ensure a speedy recovery. When a jockey experiences a mental health issue, they are often unsure of where to turn for help and fear that seeking help will make them appear weak.
Jockeys may be vulnerable to mental illness for a number of reasons. For example, the stress and pressure of racing may lead to depression and anxiety. Also injuries, personal or financial problems, overtraining, aging and retirement from sport can also contribute to depression and anxiety. A mental illness is a medical condition that many people might not even recognise they are suffering from. Mental health issues may also affect racing performance due to poor motivation, mental skills and toughness. None of these are weaknesses.
The Medical Department at the Turf Club, along with researchers in DCU (Dublin City University) and WIT (Waterford Institute of Technology), want to identify what mental health and performance support structures are needed for jockeys and so are conducting an analysis on common mental health and performance issues in jockeys.
They are encouraging all current jockeys (over 18 years of age) and retired jockeys to complete an anonymous online survey. The vital information gathered may help a jockey during their career and in retirement. The survey is highly confidential and the answers will not be linked to individuals in any way.
Tel: 087 2424404 (Dr Adrian McGoldrick)
Tel: 087 6954750 (Dr SarahJane Cullen)