The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) announced on Thursday 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.