Table 3

Jockeys’ mental health and well-being framework, adapted from Purcell et al64

  • Mental health screening on licensing courses for jockeys, and at regular periods throughout the season that may increase the risk of MHDs such as injury or a loss of competitive rides.

  • Athlete development. Developing awareness for jockeys outside of the sport of horse racing is important given jockeys’ unidimensional identity.11 This could involve programmes related to dual career and planning for life after a career as a jockey.

  • Development of bespoke, mental health literacy programmes. Given jockeys’ workload and time constraints, programmes may be delivered online and shorter in length (eg, 1 hour).

At risk— preventionIncrease visibility of services that may increase the likelihood of a referral to mental health professionals. This may occur from members of a multidisciplinary team (eg, strength and conditioning coach, nutritionist, sport psychologist, physios, medical officers). Organisations can also play a role by promoting services at racetracks and through jockey support networks (eg, jockey associations).
Early interventionWithin-organisation supports are preferred, such as sport or clinical psychologists, or medical officers. If other professionals are required, in-house supports should refer to external services. Careful consideration should be made to the type of professional contacted given the unique, nuanced nature of a career as a jockey. Given the current climate in the COVID-19 pandemic, online or telephone support services may be most appropriate.
Specialist mental healthcareA standardised mental health emergency plan should be in place, with agreement between support staff as to what does and does not constitute as a mental health emergency. Moreover, it is paramount that procedures are in place for the jockey if a mental health emergency occurs. A return to riding plan should also be created to promote a safe and healthy return to the sport.
  • MHDs, mental health difficulties.