Experiencing emotional problems or developing an addiction is not uncommon in any walk of life. Life isn’t always easy and we all suffer greater levels of stress and anxiety during key life events such as moving home, births, deaths, illness, marriage and divorce.
This can also be the case during significant developments throughout a jockey’s career: a long losing run, being injured, losing the ride on your best horse, parting ways with an owner or trainer, riding out your claim, negative press or social media comments or transitioning to your second career. These are all times when stress levels increase.
Over the last few years more than 100 jockeys have contacted the PJA seeking some form of support, and many more have utilised the additional support offered by the IJF.
The PJA has played a major role in challenging perceptions around mental health. We work with our Jockey Support Network Partners, the IJF and JETS, to provide a wide range of support and education to improve both your emotional wellbeing and performance.
Confidential Helpline and Support Network
We understand that jockeys might not want to talk to someone they know or might need some additional support even after opening up to a friend, partner or colleague. It is for this reason that the PJA works with Sporting Chance to provide a 24/7 helpline and national support network.
- The PJA’s primary mental wellbeing contacts are Paul Struthers and Izzy Desailly, so jockeys are welcome to contact them or any other member of the PJA team. All calls will be treated in strictest confidence. They will organise for one of Sporting Chance’s trained counsellors to call the jockey and set them up with the individual support you need.
- Alternatively, jockeys can call the helpline directly. The number is 07780 008877 and this is manned 24hrs a day. From 9.00am to 5.00pm it will be answered by Sporting Chance and outside of those hours the service is provided by Health Assured, where jockeys will be able to speak with a counsellor directly.
- If a support plan is recommended, the PJA will fund the initial six sessions as part of the PJA membership.
- We will consider further funding if additional sessions or a residential stay is recommended.
Psychological Support and IJF Rehabilitation Centres
The IJF also provide psychological support at each of their three rehabilitation centres. Should jockeys be undergoing rehabilitation they will have this support as part of their comprehensive rehabilitation programme but they are there for any jockey. Jockeys should contact the centres directly to ask for more information or visit the PJA or IJF websites.