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Findings of the industry mental health research, funded by the Racing Foundation, are announced Image

Findings of the industry mental health research, funded by the Racing Foundation, are announced

Monday, 13 May 2019

Racing Welfare  announced the findings of its industry-wide mental health research at a launch event on Monday 13th May at Royal Windsor Racecourse, coinciding with the start of Mental Health Awareness Week. The study, undertaken on the charity’s behalf by Liverpool John Moores University in association with the Racing Foundation, is expected to shape the structure of mental health support within racing going forwards.


• The research was undertaken by Will McConn of Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and was part funded by the Racing Foundation

• Completed over the period of a year, the research focused on those working across all sectors of horseracing and Thoroughbred breeding

• The data collection phase incorporated 131 face-to-face interviews and focus groups across the UK, in addition to an online survey which generated over 1500 responses

The findings and recommendations of the research were presented to an audience of industry stakeholders, press and representatives from other sports outside of racing and from the wider charitable sector. The key themes were discussed by a panel of experts during the session, which was live-streamed on Racing Welfare’s website and social media channels.

Conducted over the course of 2018, the research looked at the relationship between working in racing and mental health, and covered every profession in the industry including both core and auxiliary roles. 

The full report, findings and recommendations can be downloaded from Racing Welfare's website by clicking here>>.

 Dawn Goodfellow, Chief Executive of Racing Welfare, said “Today is hugely important for us and for the industry as a whole. The research undertaken by Will and the team at LJMU offers an independent review of the relationship between working in racing and the mental health of its participants and we look forward to engaging with racing’s stakeholders to build on the recommendations; this is the start of the conversation. The information provided will help Racing Welfare to assess the suitability and accessibility of our mental health provision as it stands, in addition to providing evidence for the development of future services to ensure that we continue meet the needs of all of racing’s people.”

Will McConn, Postgraduate Researcher at LJMU’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, commented. “We, at LJMU, are delighted to be able to deliver this research to the racing industry in collaboration with Racing Welfare. It is the culmination of 14 months of direct engagement with those working day-to-day in racing alongside the subsequent analysis and write up. Overall, our aim is not to dictate what the industry should seek to do in relation to mental health and wellbeing but help encourage dialogue and reflection on the next steps that could be taken. We feel the report achieves this balance by offering recommendations coupled with broader themes that reflect the various voices and perspectives of the industry on mental health”.

The event marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, a national initiative organised by the Mental Health Foundation which runs from 13th – 19th May. As per 2018, Racing Welfare will lead’s racing’s response to the campaign, which looks to break down the stigma associated with mental health and encourage those who may be struggling to seek help. Racing Welfare representatives will be present at every race meeting during the week and will be handing out green ribbons to all those working on course during the day, including stable staff leading up in each race, in a mass show of solidarity. Furthermore, the charity has produced a campaign film which will be shown at every meeting and across its social channels throughout the week.

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