RACING staff at courses across the region will be showing their support for mental health awareness at meetings throughout the week.

Racing Welfare is bringing the horseracing industry together in support of Mental Health Awareness Week, running from today until Sunday.

The charity hopes to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues, promote the importance of good mental health and encourage open discussions on the subject across the racing and thoroughbred breeding industry.

A national campaign run by the Mental Health Foundation, racing staff across the country will be showing their support by wearing green ribbons when they lead up on racedays throughout the week.

Courses taking part in our region include Catterick, which has a meeting today, Sedgefield (Tuesday). Thirsk (Saturday) and Ripon (Sunday).

Staff at York Racecourse will also be supporting the initiative during this week’s three-day Dante Festival, one of the most prestigious meetings in the horseracing calendar, which starts on Wednesday.

The initiative has received industry-wide backing from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), The Jockey Club and Arena Racing Company (ARC) together with independent racecourses.

Alongside racecourse activity throughout the week, Racing Welfare will be shedding light on a number of topics relating to mental wellbeing via their social media channels.

The charity has also commissioned a video to tell the story of one of their beneficiaries who has batted with mental illness; this will be shown on the screens of participating racecourses during the week in addition to being posted on social media.

Newton Abbot Racecourse have teamed up with the mental health charity Mind for their Wednesday 16th May fixture, which has been called the Mind and Racing Welfare raceday, with Windsor Racecourse also hosting the Mental Health Foundation during racing on Monday 14th May.

Research shows that two-thirds of us will experience mental ill-health of varying types at some point in our lives and the severity and impact of the issue, plus a person’s ability to cope with it, can fluctuate on a daily, weekly or yearly basis. By proactively engaging racing staff with the campaign, Racing Welfare hopes to ensure that all those working within the industry know that the charity have a range of support services available should they or someone they know be struggling with their mental health.

Simone Sear, Racing Welfare’s director of welfare said: “Looking after our mental health is just as important as looking after our physical health, yet it is not always easy to recognise when we, or someone else, is struggling with a mental health issue.

“By supporting Mental Health Awareness Week we aim to raise awareness of and de-stigmatise mental health issues to make it easier for those working in our industry to come forwards for support, or indeed to support others to get help.

“This week provides an important platform to raise awareness of our range of mental health support services available to racing’s workforce. As signatories of the Mental Health in Sport Charter we are committed to making sure that good mental wellbeing stays high on our agenda.”

Anyone looking for advice can access Racing Welfare’s free and confidential 24 hour helpline on 0800-6300-443.