Sussex Cricket scores world first with mental health project

Sussex Cricket has become the first professional sports club in the world to launch its own bespoke online mental health and well-being platform for the community.

Monday, 18th January 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 18th January 2021, 9:09 am
Sarah Taylor uses the Sussex Cricket Mental Health & Wellbeing Hub at home / Picture by Alex Taylor (@alexgjtaylor)

The Sussex Cricket Mental Health & Wellbeing Hub is launched today by Sussex and England cricketing legend Sarah Taylor, who herself has contributed to the groundbreaking innovation.

Developed in partnership with Frog Systems and with the support of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the hub is a free online resource designed to help users find hope and support through the power of shared, lived experiences.

At the heart of the mobile-optimised platform is the ‘Champions Cinema’ - an ever-growing collection of thousands of videos of 60 seconds or less where people from the Sussex Cricket community and beyond share their experiences from an A to Z of topics that impact or can help with our mental health and well-being.

Contributors include Sussex Cricket players and staff, including Taylor, club cricketers, experts from Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as well as individuals from a whole host of backgrounds and life experiences. The fully searchable library also provides links to trusted local resources and further help relevant to the videos being viewed by a user.

The Sussex Cricket Mental Health & Wellbeing Hub is completely free to use by anybody with an internet connection and requires no registration, ensuring complete anonymity for users.

The platform came to life after a Sussex Cricket working group, chaired by club president Sir Rod Aldridge, was tasked with finding ways in which Sussex Cricket with its prominent role and significant reach in the community could make a meaningful and long-lasting contribution to addressing issues exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Office of National Statistics (ONS) data from June 2020 shows that almost one in five adults was likely to be experiencing some form of depression during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly double the pre-pandemic level, making it clear that mental health and well-being was an area where help was - and will continue to be - needed.

With over 3,500 members, 182 affiliated cricket clubs, tens of thousands of supporters who attend matches each year, thousands more people encountered through community programmes and corporate partnerships, over 400,000 followers on social media and more than 850,000 unique website visitors each year, Sussex Cricket says it is in an incredibly strong position to make a positive difference in this aspect of people’s lives.

The Sussex Cricket Mental Health & Wellbeing Hub is available now to anyone that needs it - click here to give it a try.

Sarah Taylor, Sussex player, World Cup winner and nominee for ICC Women’s Player of the Decade: “I know from my own experiences how helpful it is to share how we’re feeling when it comes to looking after our mental well-being. Sussex’s new platform is a wonderful way of taking the power of shared experience and using it to give as many people as possible support and hope.

"With all the challenges of the last year and this current lockdown, there couldn’t be a better time for an innovation like this. I’m proud to have shared my experiences on the platform alongside so many other people from all walks of life. I’m sure the hub is going to make a big difference.”

Sir Rod Aldridge, Sussex Cricket president, said: “We are extremely proud to be breaking new ground as the first sports club in the world to support its community in this way. We have long been able to count on people’s support and we’re delighted to be offering some support back in an area that is so important, particularly now.

"It was felt with our connectivity across the entire spectrum of age, gender, background and personal circumstances that Sussex Cricket is ideally placed to reach out to our supporters and wider community at such a challenging time.

"The Sussex Cricket Mental Health & Well-being Hub, with a seal of approval from the NHS, harnesses the power of shared experience – so vital when it comes to addressing our mental health - and provides an innovative and accessible ‘one-stop shop’ for people to easily access support across a huge range of topics. I hope people find it useful.”

Sam Allen, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust CEO: “The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened our personal safety, disrupted our daily routines, uprooted our lives and shaken our world. It isn’t easy to maintain mental well-being, personal resilience and optimism when we are surrounded and affected by such unsettling uncertainty.

"This is why I’m so pleased we are working with Sussex Cricket on this fantastic resource to provide advice, information and support about mental health and well-being for our local communities.”

Phil Worms, CEO of Frog Systems said: "Over the recent months the nation has collectively found its voice through technology, with millions of people using video daily. Speaking up and out is essential in countering the stigma associated with mental wellness issues - and video engages in a way that the written word simply cannot.

"The stories of hope and support showcased within the Champions Cinema will encourage others to feel less stigmatised by their own issues and will feel empowered to take personal ownership of them. It’s so commendable that Sussex Cricket is using its influence and reach in such a positive way to support its community.”