Racing rallies round as Mental Health Awareness Week starts at Windsor on Monday
Promoting mental health issues issues has been described as crucial by Arena Racing Company chief executive Martin Cruddace, whose tracks will join forces with the rest of racing to highlight the illness next week.
Mental Health Awareness Week starts on Monday, when the Mental Health Foundation will have a presence at the Arc-owned Windsor, aiming to raise funds and awareness.
Racing Welfare, a charity that supports people in racing, is also involved and Cruddace said: "We're absolutely delighted to support Mental Health Foundation, particularly at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week.
"Promoting effective strategies for dealing with mental health issues is hugely important, and we hope that through this partnership we'll be able to promote the excellent work of Mental Health Foundation and Racing Welfare to our audiences both on course and through At The Races.
"Thanks must go also to our corporate partners Racing Post, Weatherbys Racing Bank, Jigsaw, K&L Gates and At The Races for their support of the evening and of this hugely important work."
Former Flat champion Kieren Fallon has spoken of his problems, which led to his retirement, while jump jockey Mark Enright has suffered with depression, as has Grand National-winning rider Graham Lee, while racing was rocked by the death of trainer Richard Woollacott in January following his battle with mental illness.
Mark Rowland, a director at Mental Health Foundation, added: "More and more people are recognising how central our mental health is to just about every area of life.
"We're delighted the team at Arc have given us this opportunity during Mental Health Awareness Week to take our message on the impact of stress to the racing community and raise vital funds for our work. We can't thank them enough for standing with us."
Windsor is not the only track to get involved as Newton Abbot has teamed up with Racing Welfare and mental health charity Mind for Wednesday's fixture.
"Looking after our mental health is just as important as looking after our physical health, yet it's not always easy to recognise when we, or someone else, is struggling with a mental health issue," said Simone Sear, Racing Welfare’s director of welfare.
"By supporting Mental Health Awareness Week we aim to raise awareness of, and destigmatise, mental health issues to make it easier for those working in our industry to come forward 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."
In support of the week, Uncovered, whose lead singer Gracie O'Reilly and guitarist and founder Shaun Johnson work in the sport, will perform live after racing on Lockinge day at Newbury on Saturday.
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