On World Mental Health Day, Bengaluru Football Club announced that it will provide players and staff at the club with on-call professional mental health help. The programme – Care around the corner – was launched by the club to improve awareness of mental health in sports circles. "The programme entails bringing on board a professional mental health expert who will conduct regular sessions with the first team and staff, along with sessions for the academy teams. The players and staff will also have access to the mental health expert for one-on-one consults at all times by way of video sessions," Bengaluru FC said in a statement.
The programme also comes at a time sports, including the Indian Super League (ISL) tournament, will be taking place in COVID-19 bubbles in one location. Sports teams including the cricket team Royal Challengers Bangalore have also invested in getting mental health experts on-board.
Rangers FC first created the ‘Care Team’ in September 2019 to help those associated with the club maintain good mental health. Bengaluru FC, which shares a partnership with Scottish football club Rangers FC will also have a team of mental health experts from Rangers conduct workshops with the staff and team members. In September 2019, Rangers had announced the creation of the 'Care Team' to help people associated with the club to maintain their mental health.
“Mental health in sport is such an important conversation, but it’s also one that we don’t have as much as we should in Indian sport. We felt a definite need to add this aspect to the team for this season, and every season going forward," Bengaluru FC CEO Mandar Tamhane said.
India and Bengaluru FC goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who has been vocal about the importance of mental wellness and seeking professional help in the past, said that the programme will benefit the team as it will provide a non-judgemental space for players to open up.
“I think it'll be great. I want every player and staff member to use this as an opportunity to become better and have a better understanding about your own self, because as men and as football players we are always told to be strong and not feel. I think it is important to have a safe and a non-judgmental space in a professional club so that players can open up and look after themselves and those around them,” Gurpreet Singh Sandhu said.